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Topeka church helping families during baby formula shortage

Topeka church helping families during baby formula shortage
Published: May. 11, 2022 at 9:25 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - One Topeka organization that offers free baby formula for families is seeing the effects of a nationwide shortage.

The Shawnee County Health Department said the state’s WIC, or women/infant/children program, is adjusting by allowing access to alternative formulas. They said families in a pinch can see if their pediatrician has free samples of formula.

They can also visit organizations like the West Side Baptist Church Baby Closet, but even their supplies are uncertain, who receives their formula from donations. They will go out and buy it themselves if they are running low.

“We always have some on hand but now it’s increasing. You can really tell,” said Pat Carreno.

West Side Baptist Church on 1008 Southwest 4th Street in Topeka opens its doors three times a week.

Carreno said families will ask right away if they have any in stock.

“We’ll be sure and get that out as much as we can. I don’t know what donations we’re going to receive right now because everybody’s looking for formula.”

The shortage stems from recalls from Abbott Nutrition’s plant in Michigan. The business announced Wednesday the plant could be up and running pending approval from the FDA in the next two weeks.

Something that could help the low number of formula is breastfeeding. The Health Department said they’re working diligently to accommodate concerns on a case-by-case basis.

They’re seeing an increase in breastfeeding rates, which is a positive to pull out of the current situation they say.

“I think that’s awesome. Breastfeeding should be the number one choice for mothers, but each person has to do what they can do,” said Carreno. “This is a good opportunity for some mothers to maybe start doing that.”

Until the FDA approves Abbott’s operations, families will continue to receive help from local organizations like the Baby Closet.

“If your baby takes 4-5 bottles a day, you’re going to use up a can of formula quite frequently. I think it just gives them a little, maybe protection, before they can find some formula somewhere else. It’s critical, I think,” she said. “If we can help anybody they can come in. We’ve got some.”

Their hours are 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Mondays, 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays, and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays.

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