Tuesday, June 7, 2022

City Partners with Community Organizations to Help Parents Access Baby Formula Amid National Shortage

The City of Austin is partnering with a collaborative of organizations, facilitated by the Community Resilience Trust (CRT), to provide information about the baby formula shortage, where families can get resources, information on available programs and how individuals can donate and support these efforts. 

Collaborating organizations include: CRT, Maternal Health Equity Collaborative, Giving Austin Labor Support, Austin Doula Care, Any Baby Can, El Buen Samaritano, Austin Area Urban League, and Gladiator Consulting.  

CRT is a multi-racial collaborative of organizations dedicated to addressing the systemic inequities that are amplified during crises, and advance permanent systemic change through these initiatives. Today, CRT and the City will be distributing a flyer to inform parents of available resources and services. 

“Families are being faced with the very stark reality that they don’t know where their baby’s next feeding will come from. Shelves are barren and driving across town to several stores is a choice that many vulnerable families do not have due to limited financial resources and transportation access. It’s a scary position for any parent to be in, and desperation is prompting some to resort to watering down formula and using substitutes that lack the proper nutrition babies need to stay healthy,” said Nakeenya Wilson, Interim Executive Director, Giving Austin Labor Support (GALS). 

“Right now parents need help getting baby formula and the City of Austin is supporting these organizations’ efforts to share information and advice at this critical time,” said Laura Patiño, City of Austin Resilience Officer. “While this challenge is a national one, the City has an important role in making sure our community knows what support and alternatives are out there for all.” 

Separately, Austin Public Health (APH) is sharing long-standing resources for local moms along with information from Texas WIC about the recent formula recall that has contributed to the shortage. APH will also continue to serve eligible families through the Neighborhood Services Unit food pantries. 

Because babies need a specific balance of nutrients, APH, WIC and the American Academy of Pediatrics do not recommend making baby formula at home, and it is not safe to use cows’ milk or overly dilute formula. The City of Austin’s Equity and Sustainability Offices are also supporting these efforts.  

“Existing inequities are amplified during community crises, and working in silos leaves people out. Only by bringing multiple views together can we begin to fully address the gaps,” said Janis Bookout, co-founder of Community Resilience Trust. “We’re grateful to partner with so many amazing groups serving our most vulnerable families.” 

“We are stronger together, is more than a catchy phrase.  It is a privilege for Any Baby Can to stand with so many others in our community to ensure all our babies have access to formula during these challenging times,” said Any Baby Can CEO, Veronda L. Durden. “We are committed to doing all we can to make what we have available to those in need.”  

Additional information available here.  

APH Resources  

  • Mom’s Place Lactation Support Center operates as a clinic and training center where mothers can receive breastfeeding assistance from registered nurses and lactation consultants. Appointments can be made by calling 512-972-6700, and a toll-free breastfeeding hotline can be reached by calling 1-800-514-6667.  

  • Family Connects works to support families after the birth of a newborn. Nurses are available for home visits to measure newborn and maternal health and assess strengths and needs to link the family to community resources. More information is available by calling 512-225-0363 or emailing family.connects@austintexas.gov.   

State WIC Options  

The Texas WIC is offering formula options to help families in need. Please note that these options are only available for WIC clients. Parents can register online to become a client.  

WIC clients can go to www.TexasWIC.org to find the list of alternative brands that are available to them if they cannot find their brand at the grocery store. This list is updated daily. They can also contact their local WIC office for assistance.   

HHS Fact Sheet   

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has created a fact sheet to help families find formula.  

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