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Indiana families continue search for baby formula amid nationwide shortage

Local pharmacist hopes leaders can find solution
baby formula
Posted at 11:06 PM, May 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-24 06:32:06-04

BROWNSBURG — To find a can of formula is like striking gold right about now, as the struggle continues for parents across the nation trying to feed their babies.

After Sunday’s delivery to the Indianapolis International Airport, parents across the country are still struggling with empty store shelves, and in some cases, hungry babies.

The White House announced Monday that another 114 pallets are set to arrive on the east coast Wednesday. But that shipment will make just a small dent in the ongoing shortage.

"It's really bad. The amount of phone calls, we get 50 to probably 100 phone calls a day asking about formula," said Julie Acra, pharmacist and owner of Blue River Pharmacy in Brownsburg,

"We normally don't carry formula, but we noticed that our wholesalers we go through were carrying some of the more specialized formula. So, we started ordering that in for people," Acra said.

Acra said they get between four to five boxes of formula a day, which is usually for preemies, toddlers, and babies with allergies.

She said the pharmacy makes a post daily on Facebook showing what they received for the day. From there, it takes off.

"A couple of hours at the most. We take it down as soon as possible, but people share it with lots of their friends and family. So, people are still coming in after we sold out," Acra said.

Megan Gendig is a parent whose infant needs specialty formula.

"It's been difficult to find it, but we're blessed that we have family and friends around the U.S. that are able to send it to us to help get a relief for her," she said.

Gendig was there Sunday as an emergency shipment of formula was delivered. Her family effort is something Acra said she witnesses every day: family and friends come to buy formula to ship to their loved ones across the country.

“All the way from ... their child was in Texas. We've had people from Illinois, and people from Ohio, and they've all come by to look for the formulas. So, it's been really heartbreaking, and we can just see how stressed out all the moms are," Acra said.

Acra said she hopes leaders can resolve the issue before it's too late.

President Joe Biden is using the Defense Production Act to authorize two formula-producing companies to get priority shipments of the ingredients they need. FedEx will handle the logistics of the next shipment, arriving Wednesday.

It will be flown to Washington, D.C., then transported to a Nestlé facility in Pennsylvania. The head of the USDA said the formula shortage could ease up in the next 30 days.