OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – We’ve all seen the empty shelves as many rush to the grocery store to stock up on items in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One group really struggling is families of babies and young children – unable to find items like formula and diapers they need.
There are ways to give and get help in this time of need.
“This crisis is one that we’ve never faced,” said Miki Farris, executive director and co-founder of Infant Crisis Services. “The demand is great and the supply is dwindling.”
At the Infant Crisis Center – families are feeling uncertain, lining up outside in their cars to receive supplies.
“I was about to be real stressed out,” said Alexis Jackson, a mom of 4. “Like really stressed out.”
Infant Crisis served 200 babies Monday, saying their numbers are about double what they normally see.
While many flock to the stores to stock up – others like Jackson wonder how they’ll feed their children.
“It was a craze in there and there was no baby formula like at all on the shelves,” Jackson said. “We couldn’t find anything – no wipes, no tissues, no food. It’s driving me crazy.”
Farris says not being able to find the right formula is one of the most stressful things for moms.
“Maybe you can’t breastfeed,” she said. “Maybe there’s no substitute for it.”
The crisis center is privately funded, relying on donations and hopeful they can continue to help every family that needs it.
“We also hope that folks that have the needs and can buy the formula and diapers that they need for their children will do so and not utilize our services so we can keep our doors open,” Farris said.
“You’ve gotta think, there’s people out here that wasn’t able to get to the store because we haven’t got paid like it’s a bunch of things that factor in,” said Jackson. “Like please just chill. Like it’s crazy.”
Another way to help – if you are buying an item low on stock, check to see if it’s WIC-approved and try to buy a substitute if possible.
That way families who rely on the program can get what they need.
“We have received reports some stores are out of stock on the WIC approved infant formula. This isn’t due to a supplier shortage but to increased demand at the grocery stores, similar to what is being experienced with other store items. The suppliers have stock in their warehouse and are filling their normal orders. If there is an out of stock at a store it is temporary.We are notifying our clinic staff throughout the state to notify WIC vendor staff at 888-655-2942 ext. 14765. We will contact the store to determine why there is an out of stock and we also notify the participant of a store close to them that is in stock.”Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) of OK
If you’d like to get more information on getting help at Infant Crisis or donating, head to their website, https://www.infantcrisis.org/ or call (405)528-3663.