RVA Formula Exchange helps parents find baby formula amid national shortage
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As parents across the country scramble to find baby formula during the nationwide shortage, a Richmond mother is turning to social media to help families with their search efforts.
Ashley Escobar started a Facebook group called RVA Formula Exchange in January, which was inspired by her own efforts to find baby formula for her daughter, Delilah. Escobar said Delilah was born three months premature and was switched to baby formula for medical reasons.
“She is on a high-calorie formula diet, so we’re supplementing every bottle with extra scoops,” Escobar said. “It’s definitely hard to keep up with our supply that we have at home.”
The ongoing shortage continues to keep store shelves empty. Currently, 43 percent of the nation’s baby formula supply is out of stock.
“The amount that I can find in the store versus what we need at home has been really difficult,” Escobar said.
After seeing several online groups discuss where to find the baby formula, Escobar decided to create the online resource.
“I knew it was a struggle many households here locally,” she said. “I thought it would be great to have one local resource where we can all post and share, exchange, sell.”
In this group, Escobar also said parents can share information about what stores have in stock while leaning on each other for support.
“The impact it’s made on everybody just trying to find formula and all the generosity that has been passed around, like I think that’s the biggest thing,” said Ashley Whitt, who also helps out with the RVA Formula Exchange page.
Whitt said this group has been a humbling experience as she sees strangers share their kindness to others during this time of need.
“Seeing all the moms reach out to each other and help each other and give things away that they don’t need or do whatever they can to make sure that all of our babies are fed,” said Whitt.
When the Facebook group started in January, Escobar said there were 50 people. Currently, there are more than 1,000 members offering a helping hand to each other.
“It’s scary, you know. It’s a nationwide issue and to be able to help the local parents in our community with whatever I can with the free resource has been awesome,” Escobar said.
Governor Glenn Youngkin released a statement regarding the nationwide baby formula shortage.
“My administration remains engaged with industry leaders on their production capabilities, and the Virginia Department of Heath is working to ensure that there are adequate supplies of baby formula state-wide. Additionally, my administration has asked the FDA to utilize all resources to get the U.S. plant back into production as quickly as possible. Simply put, acquiring baby formula shouldn’t be a challenge in the United States,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin.
To learn more about RVA Formula Exchange, click here.
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