SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — With both CVS and Walgreens rationing sales of baby formula, the growing shortage is becoming more and more apparent to those in the general public, but for parents of infants, and those that seek to help them, this shortage has already become a point of hardship.
The Teddy Bear Den is an incentive and education program for pregnant women in the community. In addition to a points based store for the around 1,700 members of the program, the organization has also offered formula for mothers in need.
However, Executive Director Sandy Lown says that due to the formula shortage, that service has been depleted. “Our formula at the Teddy Bear Den is free,” said Lown. “For our moms, it’s something they can’t afford with their own money. Formula is a very expensive thing — so that’s why we try to carry a supply of it.”
That supply is now running short.
“What was initially the impact is that formula was recalled,” said Lown. “That made us have to dump a lot of formula that we had.” Lown said the action of dumping formula, even though it has been recalled, was a difficult one.
“It was very hard for us,” said Lown. “Dumping formula was extremely hard because we knew that formula is such a need.” Lown also noted that the formula the Teddy Bear Den carried was available to everyone, not just members of the program, but that after having to dump the supply, providing it has been difficult.
“We had parents coming in looking for formula, because they too had to dump their formula — our moms are having to leave empty handed, without having formula,” Lown said. “We do not have very many shelves of formula right now all.”
Lown says that most of what they are carrying now if formula for children in high need categories. “It’s not just the basic Enfamil and Similac that everybody else has — right now, just your basic formula that would be for your basic child — is very hard to come by.”
The current shortage, according to Lown, is just one part of an ongoing series of baby-related shortages of late, which she thinks may take some time to correct.
“We noticed it right away,” Lown said. “Shortage of cribs — shortage of strollers — shortage of high chairs, and that demand has not been met yet.”
This has led to lower stock of all of these items by the Den. Lown says that if you have unopened, unexpired formula that you will no longer be using, you are welcome to donate it. “If you have an unopened can of formula, the Teddy Bear Den will be more than happy to take it if it is unexpired and unopened.”
The same goes for used strollers and high chairs as well, which will be given free of charge to those who need them.
For parents out there facing a shortage of formula, Lown encourages them to keep trying. “What we say to our moms is just continue looking throughout our community. Continue looking at Marketplace on Facebook — continue looking — there are people that have formula that are looking to donate it.”