Central Texas moms create formula shortage group

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 1:47 AM CDT
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - Central Texas parents are getting desperate due to the nationwide shortage of baby formula.

The shortage has forced a pair of Bell County mothers to start a Facebook group to help find, share and donate formula.

“There’s nothing worse than being a parent and feeling like you won’t be able to feed your kids,” said Brittany Matthews. “I know that I’m not the only one feeling like this.”

Matthews, 26, of Killeen, has a seven-month-old son and another on the way.

She says she has to rely on formula to feed her son Malachi who can’t have dairy or soy.

“I had a lot of problems breast feeding,” said Matthews. “And he’s allergic to a lot.”

As a result, Matthews’ son has to drink special, amino-based formula--but the problem is...she can’t find it anywhere locally.

“I call WIC every single day, and sometimes I’m waiting on the phone half the day, but I call every day until I get them to find something for me,” Matthews told KWTX Wednesday.

While it’s difficult for her to find that special kind, even families using standard formula are struggling to find anything on the shelves due to a nationwide formula shortage which is being blamed on supply-chain issues and a major safety recall.

“We’re basically on our last two formulas that he can actually do,” said Matthews. “I don’t know (what we’re going to do), I really don’t, I think a lot of people feel this way that they don’t know what they’re going to do next if they can’t find what they need.”

To help local parents find what they need, Matthews and Temple mom Laura Pittman created and run the Facebook group Central Texas Formula Search.

“Personally, the shortage didn’t affect us that much, Hadleigh (her daughter) can take other kinds, according to her doctor,” said Pittman. “I know personally of a few moms it has taken a very hard hit on, plus, I see first-hand the struggles that some people I know are facing.”

As of Wednesday night, their group had more than 260 members.

“I started the group because I just felt the pain and worry that I wouldn’t be able to feed my son,” said Matthews. “I know I wanted to help people because I’m out there looking for formula too, so why not just let other people know ‘hey, this store has this certain formula that you might need.’”

According to Datasembly, at the end of April, more than 40% of formulas were out of stock in the U.S., and in Texas it was even higher.

“Honestly, I just want the recall to be over and the shelves to look normal for once,” said Pittman. “It’s so depressing to go to get formula and there be none at all that she can use, you start to stress and wonder how you are going to feed your kid.”

Sadly, both Pittman and Matthews say people have been taking advantage of the desperation by joining these formula groups, taking free formula, then selling it.

They say they are monitoring that type of activity in their group closely, and anyone who does it will be removed.

“There’s just no taking advantage of parents and children when we’re all struggling,” said Matthews.

Matthews says she encourages other local parents looking for formula, or families who have extra formula to share, to join them.

“Hopefully others will join in with me, today alone I gave three people the formula my son couldn’t take,” said Matthews. “If you have extra formula, join the group and give to somebody, I think karma will come around and bless you.”

Some of the people in the group have had to have family members from out-of-state send them formula, she says.

“People are saying ‘oh, my mom or my cousin sent me formula from 20 states away,’ but not everyone has that luxury,” said Matthews. “I just hope and pray something gets done soon.”

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