Published: May 16, 2013
When Victoria Emry's husband joined the Air Force as an officer, she expected his paycheck would easily support their family.
Then reality set in.
Some enlisted troops with several years in the service made as much, or more, than her husband, she discovered.
Money was tight for the single-income family.
To make matters worse, the couple's infant son soaked through diaper after diaper, taxing the couple's sanity and wallet.
Out of desperation, the Emrys began covering his disposable diapers with waterproof "cloth" diaper covers.
The couple eventually made the switch to cloth diapers and found that their son sprung fewer leaks.
So did their wallet.
"The savings were astronomical once we got started," said Emry, who said she saved tens of dollars a month after she stopped buying disposable diapers.
But getting started with cloth diapers required a few hundred dollars worth of supplies.
"We thought, ?We have got to find a way to help military families do this.'"
This year, the Emrys launched Battle Bumms, a charity that provides cloth diaper starter sets to low-income Colorado military families.
Active-duty troops of any rank who qualify for Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children assistance and are not already using cloth diapers can apply to receive a free starter set: 12 cloth diapers, 12 cloth wipes and supplies for storing dirty diapers until laundry time.
The sets are small and require parents to do cloth-diaper laundry frequently, Emry said.
But she hopes they buy families time to slowly build up their own stashes, then return the starter sets so they can be sanitized and sent to new families.
So far, the Emrys have distributed seven starter sets to families stationed at Schriever Air Force Base and Fort Carson.
"We just want to educate people and let them know that cloth diapering isn't what it used to be," Emry said.
Contact Erin Prater: 636-0304