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Woman creates Formula Exchange to help families amid nationwide shortage

Published: May. 18, 2022 at 5:55 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - One child at a Memphis hospital treated after their specialty formula was nowhere to be found has been released.

But the formula shortage is still a dire situation for most parents and parents who don’t have to rely on formula anymore are stepping in to help.

Doctors and parents here at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital have seen the worst-case scenario that this formula shortage can cause -- children being hospitalized because the formula they depend on is nowhere to be found.

We’ve told you two children with intestinal issues and special nutrition needs were hospitalized in Memphis. Now one of those children is back home.

The toddler was released Tuesday; a pre-school-aged patient is still in the hospital and said to be in stable condition.

The two were treated with IVs after they reacted poorly to a switch in formula when their specialty formula was nowhere to be found.

About half of the nation’s formula is out of stock now.

Keiko Zoll says it was news of the shortage plus seeing parents considering paying hundreds of dollars for any available product that drew her to create the Free Formula Exchange -- a website to match those with an excess of formula to those who need it, all for free.

Since launching the service Friday night, 3,000 people in all 50 states have requested formula with 300 people offering up what they had to give.

Zoll says she hopes this site can impact those who will be hit the hardest by this shortage like low-income families and rural families.

“The long-term goal is I don’t have to operate this site anymore,” said Zoll. “That it ceases to exist, that the shortage is over, needs have been met. But I also realize, to your point earlier speaking about low income and rural families, that there actually is going to be a continued need even when we’re not in a national shortage because you never know when a family gets impacted by life events and circumstances.”

The federal government says more than 50% of formula sold in the country is through the Women Infant Child supplement program or WIC.

If you’re interested in participating in the exchange, visit freeformula.exchange/ to fill out a short info sheet to learn what product you’re looking for.

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