TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Hard times call for desperate measures amid a nationwide baby formula shortage. Tampa Bay moms are turning to social media to find food for their babies and others are lending a helping hand.
Baby formula shelves at major retailers are mostly empty. Some moms are now turning to social media sites for help.
“The posts really – just people saying, ‘hey I need help’ and others going, ‘here I can help you,’” said Steffany Rodriguez-Neely.
Rodriguez-Neely created the Tampa Bay Moms Group on Facebook more than a decade ago to help connect moms in the community. It has more than 7,000 members who are helping each other through the shortage online.
Lately the posts look like this: “Does anyone have cans to spare? My niece has no formula, and my sister cannot find it anywhere” and “If anyone would like – you can pick up from me.”
“It’s really serious for the kids that have special needs, they need a special formula,” she said. “My son was one of those kids, so if this happened two years ago, we would’ve probably have been in the hospital right now.”
Craigslist postings have also been popping up, including one which listed eight formula cans for $65.
“There’s this level of anonymity when you’re dealing with those you don’t know… at least in our group we have a vetting system,” said Rodriguez-Neely.
It’s estimated more than 40% of the nation’s popular baby formulas are out of stock. The government launched a website to help families, and the Biden administration said it would step up to cut red tape to make it easier for formula companies to produce formula faster. It has vowed to import formula from abroad.
Rodriguez-Neely said it takes a village and moms have been successful in helping each other through this challenging time.
“It’s been really crazy to see everyone come together for each other because it does take a village especially when you’re in a crisis,” she said.