Metro Atlanta mothers receive help in baby formula search
ATLANTA - In a baby formula shortage, every single can counts. Jamie Lackey is the founder of "Helping Mamas" -- a Norcross-based nonprofit that accepts and distributes baby formula donations from the public directly to families in need.
"It's really worrisome for every mother in this situation...driving around, burning gas going from place to place. It’s a burden, particularly for women in low-income communities," said Lackey.
Lackey said the tales of mothers desperate are heartbreaking -- which is why she was grateful for the donation this week from Peach State Health Plan -- whose CEO said it's important for private industry to help the public in times of need in urban and rural communities. Peach State Health Plan has delivered more than 200 canisters of infant and baby formula to pediatric clinics in southwest Georgia and Atlanta. The CEO Wade Rakes said that adds up to about 4,200 meals for newborns and babies in need.
Some mothers visit the Norcross facility to get help. Others receive the formula at one of the drop-off sites coordinated by Helping Mamas.
"It's like gold. One donation comes in and then it goes right back out into our community. And at one giveaway, a mother told me she had driven to 15 stores to find formula because she was on her last can. There’s just never enough," said Lackey.
Every can makes a difference, as the nation waits for supplies to replenish coming from the Michigan plant that triggered the shortage in the first place. The Abbot plant in Sturgis shut down after a product contamination led to two infant deaths and illness in two other infants in the spring. Flooding in mid-June compromised the facility and operations have been slow to resume.
For more information about donating or receiving infant and baby formula, visit HelpingMamas.org.