Local Women Help Parents Get Baby Formula Amid Shortage

Members of two groups have become warriors in their search for formula.

NBC Washington

Parents received some encouraging news Monday night regarding the nationwide shortage in baby formula: The federal government has filed a consent decree that allows the closed Abbott Nutrition plant in Michigan to reopen under specific conditions. 

However, it could still take two months or more to get those products onto empty store shelves. In the meantime, women from our region are doing what they can to help parents and others facing daily fear and uncertainty about feeding their little ones. 

Staring at empty store shelves and realizing others were facing the same stress, frustration and fear, Arlington resident CC MacArthur along with a friend started an emergency grassroots effort on Facebook.

“It’s scary. It's a scary though, especially when you are down to the last scoop,” MacArthur said. 

The NOVA Baby Formula Finding Network now stands at 2,000 members, mothers on a mission to help each other out.

“They’ll post each location they visit–Harris Teeter, Target, Giant. They will all post pictures of the formula aisles, say, this is what’s here. Can I buy this for you? Someone Venmo me. Is this what you need?” MacArthur explained.  

Empty shelves also complicate, but do not defeat, the efforts of the Washington Conference Branch Women’s Missionary Society of the AME Church.

Their members have become warriors in their search for formula, which is donated to a local food pantry.

“People who are in the greatest need, they’re not gonna have the ability to go and ship formula in from Canada or Europe. They’re trying to get online and find any place that has formula available,” the group’s Debbie Williams said. 

To raise money for the Women’s Missionary Society’s baby pantry, they’ve organized a praise walk in Allen Pond Park in Bowie, Maryland this coming weekend. The walk is open to the public and is requesting a $5 donation.

The FDA’s agreement with Abbott calls for the company to agree to a vigorous inspection schedule documenting its safety compliance. 

The supply shortage was triggered in part by the closure of Abbott Nutrition's manufacturing plant in Michigan after four infants who consumed formula from the facility fell ill from bacterial infections, two of whom subsequently died. Abbott is the largest infant formula manufacturer in the U.S.

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