As families struggle with a nationwide baby formula shortage, empty shelves abound, a Los Angeles nonprofit called Baby2Baby says the crisis is creating an incredibly dire situation for families living in poverty.
The Justice Department filed a complaint against Abbot Laboratories Monday, along with a consent decree that would allow the company to reopen its Michigan plant in two weeks. The plant closure, along with ongoing supply chain issues, has contributed to a crisis that’s hitting many families, but especially low income families the hardest.
"This is definitely a dire emergency like anything we’ve ever seen," said Kelly Sawyer Patricoff, co-CEO of nonprofit Baby2Baby.
Norah Weinstein and Patricoff are co-CEO's of Baby2Baby.
"A formula shortage, a formula crisis is upsetting for every family but it is that much more devastating for families living in poverty," Weinstein said.
The Los Angeles-based nonprofit provides basic supplies, such as diapers and formula, to families living in poverty across the country.
Like everyone else, they’re scrambling to fill the need after the largest manufacturer of formula, abbot, was forced to recall products and then shut down a large plant in michigan.
"We are working with long-time wholesale partners to have the formula made to order and that will be enough to fill some gaps," Weinstein said.
"We can get formula made to order for a third of the retail price so if you donate to an organization like us, then we are able to get that formula into the hands of people who needed the most," Patricoff said.
This is not a new issue for Baby2Baby. They’ve been dealing with it for years. When the pandemic first hit, requests for formula increased 860%.
With the recall in February, the situation has becoming increasingly worse.
If the federal government allows Abbott to reopen its plant in two weeks, it will take another 6 to 8 weeks for formula to reach store shelves, but the CEOs at Baby2Baby say that won’t solve the problem for the families they serve.
"Families living in poverty are still going to be unable to afford basic essentials including diapers and formula," Patricoff said.