Topeka Church Helps Families During Formula Shortage

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – A Topeka organization that provides free formula to families is seeing the effects of a nationwide shortage.

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

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

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

The West Side Baptist Church at 1008 Southwest 4th Street in Topeka opens three times a week.

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

“We are going to be safe and get this out as much as we can. I don’t know what donations we’re going to get right now because everyone’s looking for baby formula. »

The shortage stems from recalls from the Abbott Nutrition factory in Michigan. The company announced Wednesday that the plant could be operational pending FDA approval within the next two weeks.

Something that might help the low formula milk count is breastfeeding. The Department of Health said it was working diligently to address concerns on a case-by-case basis.

They are seeing an increase in breastfeeding rates, which they say is positive for getting out of the current situation.

“I think it’s great. Breastfeeding should be the number one choice for mothers, but each person should do what they can do,” Carreno said. “It’s 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 such as Baby Closet.

“If your baby takes 4-5 bottles a day, you’re going to be using a can of formula quite frequently. I think it just gives them a bit, maybe some protection, before they can find a formula somewhere else. It’s essential, I think,” she said. “If we can help someone, they can come in. We have some.”

Their hours of operation are 9-11 a.m. Monday, 3:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, and 1-3 p.m. Thursday.

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