CUDAHY, Wis. — Parents across Southeast Wisconsin are on the hunt for baby formula. Shelves at many area stores are near-empty and some stores are limiting how many cans of formula parents can buy.
Now, there's a woman who is starting a Facebook group, hoping to reach out to other Milwaukee area parents with hopes that they can all be a resource for each other.
"It's been to the point where I have gotten the notification that they have restocked online and within minutes they'll be sold out. So, its like a waiting game of pouncing on it when the formula she likes actually comes in," said Sam Wiegele, a stay-at-home mom who startedMilwaukee Formula Parents.
At one area target, shelves were bare. At a local Walgreen's, signs read "due to limited supply, we are limiting the purchase of baby and toddler formula to three per transaction."
The shortage is in-part the result of a massive baby formula recall at Abbot Nutrition Plan Shutdown. On Wednesday, the company said they're awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration to restart production and that it could take up to 10 weeks before production and supply is back to normal.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden spoke with baby formula manufacturers and retailers amid the shortage that is hurting families nationwide.
Brandon Scholz, President of the Wisconsin Grocers Association, believes supply chain issues Americans are dealing with from coast-to-coast will continue to stall the availability of infant formula even after the recall goes away.
"For months upon months, the impact of a reduced workforce has really impacted the supply chain's ability to put these products on the shelves and infant formula is impacted in that way as well," said Scholz. "Because they're not able to meet the demand through their manufacturing process, there's not much they can do about it other than put out what they can, when they can."
For mom's like Wiegele, fear sets in when she goes to the store and sees the empty shelves.
"I had about four cans of the formula that she likes, and now I'm down to one. I feel like with every can I open the fear is just building and building," said Wiegele.
She hopes her new Facebook group will help connect parents all throughout the area. She'll post about formulas that she finds that won't work for her daughter, Olive, and she hopes other parents will keep her in the loop as well.
"My hope is that if another parent out there has the formula that (Olive) needs, I can trade and I hope that the formula I have helps with their baby and everybody gets their babies fed," she said.
It's all proof that right now, it "takes a village to raise a child" and a village to keep one fed.
Similac, Alimentum and EleCare products affected by the recall with expiration dates of April 1, 2022 or later, will have a long sequence of numbers on the bottom of the container that starts with the first two digits 22 through 37, and contains K8, SH or Z2.
The Hunger Task Force is working to provide area food pantries with baby formula. A list of Emergency Food Distribution sites that work with Hunger Task Force can be found here.
Hunger Task Force's Executive Director Sherrie Tussler tells TMJ4 that she recommends parents in need of formula visit a Women, Infant and Children’s Program (WIC) clinic. She says WIC offers formula and food buying power for pregnant mothers, infants and children up to age 6. Tussler said local WIC Clinics will have formula.
To people who want to donate formula to Hunger Task Force, Tussler said, "cash to purchase formula helps, but purchasing and donating formula right now lengthens supply chain issues and could prevent a parent/caregiver in need from getting what they need timely."
She adds that parents should buy what they need when at the store, and should not hoard available formula.