Swampscott Mom Builds Site To Combat National Baby Formula Shortage

Swampscott Mom Builds Site To Combat National Baby Formula Shortage


SWAMPSCOTT, MA – As the shortage of infant formula across the country gets worse every day, a mother in Swampscott created a solution that she believes can help everyone affected.

Keiko Zoll, a mother and nonprofit communications professional living in Massachusetts, created the Free Formula Exchange website on Friday to connect people who need baby formula with people who have it.

The inspiration surprised Zoll at the entrance. A recent episode of the Post Reports podcast highlighted the stories of families affected by the scarcity of formulas. One woman reported that she had found an eBay listing that offered a single can of formula for $ 300. Desperate, she almost bought it.

“I was angry,” Zoll told Patch in an interview Monday. “Then at the same time, I’m sitting on my sidewalk, crying, because I remember what it was like to be a mother who needed formula.”

When her son was born six weeks earlier, Zoll switched to formula to make sure he was getting all the nutrients he needed. His gastrointestinal problems meant that he also needed a specific formula that Zoll remembers looking for everywhere with little luck.

“That was nine years ago, when there were no supply issues,” Zoll said. “And oh my God, what if I were that father now?”

He knew he could use his experience in advocacy and activism to help, and by Friday night he had already created freeformula.exchange.

A simple solution to a complex problem

The United States lost one of its largest baby formula makers in February when Abbott Nutrition temporarily closed its factory doors after its formula was linked to the illness of several babies. The shutdown was one of many factors, including supply chain problems, which according to the Food and Drug Administration contributed to the shortage of infant formula.

By the end of April, 40 percent of the formula was exhausted nationwide, according to data from Datasembly. The FDA announced plans to address the shortage on Monday, but its solutions will take time. Hungry babies across the country need solutions as soon as possible.

Parents have been using social media this week to share infant formula with those in need. The free formula exchange was created to speed up the process.

The website is simple: if you are a parent who needs a formula, click on “NEED FORMULA”. If you have more things to give, go to “I HAVE A FORMULA TO GIVE”.

More than 600 people had requested formula through the site as of Monday afternoon, when Zoll spoke with Patch, and 82 had signed up to give. The numbers are likely to be even higher now, as the site is gaining more support nationwide.

The mutual aid network is designed to be a completely free resource, explicitly stating on the site that “no payment transactions are allowed.”

“It’s not about exchanging dollars,” Zoll told Patch. “It’s about exchanging humanity.”

In addition to formula donors, Zoll is also looking for volunteers who can offer their expertise to help manage the site, from translations to web development. Anyone interested in volunteering should email freeformulaexchange@gmail.com.





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