Diapers, rent, or electricity. Which would you pick, if you could only pay one?
According to a new study done by Pediatrics Journal, that's the decision over 30 percent of single moms in the U.S. must make everyday.
Twenty-seven-year-old Elizabeth Kohtala is a single mother of 4-year-old Hunter and 16-month-old Hailey. They live in a rented apartment in K.I. Sawyer, surviving off of Elizabeth's monthly unemployment checks of $500.
Many times, Elizabeth says she must choose what bills to pay.
"I can't keep doing this. I can't keep waiting to find out if I have enough money for diapers, and keep a roof over my kids heads, and pay all these bills. I don't have the resources for it," said Elizabeth Kohtala.
While taking care of her two children, Elizabeth says she is constantly filling out job applications and attends college online.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 41 percent of female-headed households with children under age 18 are living below the poverty line, so the Kohtala family isn't alone.
Cindy Asher runs the Care Clinics in both Marquette and K.I. Sawyer, helping and educating moms in the U.P.
"Through our parenting classes, they can earn what we call 'baby bucks' and redeem those for diapers and baby clothing and things that any parent would need," said Cindy Asher.
An economy pack of diapers can cost upwards of $40. However, the Care Clinic can split up these economy packs and give them to moms who are in need. Then they use their "baby bucks" to "purchase" the diapers.
But Elizabeth says being a single mom on a very limited income isn't easy, no matter how much help there is.
"I hate living off the state. I hate getting food stamps. I hate not being able to pay for my own medical. I hate living off the state! But I do it because I have to. Because of my kids," Elizabeth said.