NORTH CAROLINA, USA — More than 76,000 pounds of infant formula arrived in Indianapolis from Europe Sunday afternoon. This comes after the Biden administration invoked the “Operation Fly Formula”.
The administration authorized the use of military planes to bring in shipments from abroad to address the current shortage.
A shortage that has impacted families across the country.
“How do you feed your child, when there's nothing available to feed them?” said LaShonda Harris, a new mom.
Her 5-month-old, Kaidence has health conditions that only allow him to eat certain infant formulas.
“With the formula, he has to be on a feeding tube for 24 hours a day,” she explained. “Because his heart works so much that he burns calories all the time. And he is struggling to maintain his weight.”
Kaidence is on a high-calorie diet and breast milk is not enough.
“He needs to gain weight so he can get his next open heart surgery. And he can have a better life a healthier life,” she said.
Tracking down the formula is a mission Charlotte resident Suzanne Young is taking on.
“My heart just sank at times when I walked around the corner and saw what some of these shelves looked like,” said Young. “I can’t imagine what it means for a parent to need that formula and there’s nothing there.”
Although her kids are grown now she felt the need to help. That’s when she started her Twitter page CLT Baby Formula Watch.
“ Through my work, I’m in store all over Charlotte all week long,” she said, “so I thought I could just take a picture and show them what’s on the shelves.”
She also has a Gmail firstname.lastname@example.org for people to send her photos so she can share. She just asks that you include the store name, location, date, and time the photo was taken.
Young said this is her way to support Charlotte families in their time of need.
“Hopefully this is going to help people get what they need and hopefully it won’t be long,” said Young.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration’s operation fly formula is underway bringing tons of baby formula in from other countries. It is also working to ramp up production in the country.
“When we start seeing these pictures showing more items in stock I think that is going to put a lot more people at ease to know there is an end in sight,” expressed Young.
Though they’re still worried LaShonda and Eric find comfort in Kaidence‘s resilience.
“He gives us any type of reassurance we need to know everything's gonna be okay,” said Eric McCluney, Kaidence’s father. “Because he's never known a bad day. He's always smiling. He's always happy. He's just, he's the greatest kid ever."
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