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Social media post on baby formula shortage hitting the Grand Strand, Pee Dee goes viral

“We’ve got to feed our kids!”
Published: May. 3, 2022 at 6:06 PM EDT|Updated: May. 3, 2022 at 6:34 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Walk into life with a six-month-old and you’ll likely see a few baby bottles. For baby Naomi Reece Owens, she usually goes through six bottles each day.

“Wow you’ve eaten good this morning girl!” exclaimed her mom, Sara Owens, while looking at her formula canister.

Naomi has relied on formula since birth, and the amount she goes through each day is enough to make Sara take at least one trip to the store each week for formula.

But for the last several months, that trip has become increasingly difficult.

“I buy two big cans every week and that’s between $40 and $50 dollars for the week, and so when you can’t find it for the next week it’s like what do you do?” Owens questioned.

Not being able to find formula is something Owens says she’s run into since January.

According to Virginia-based company Data Assembly, which tracks grocery and retail price trends, baby formula out of stock levels across the country are at 31%. That’s up 20% since November of last year.

“Mondays are usually when I go, to at least look for it, and there was nothing at all. There might have been a few on the other shelf, or a few of the other brands you don’t use, but yeah it was pretty empty,” said Owens.

Owens is referencing a nearby Walmart to her in Florence. But it wasn’t just the bare shelves that panicked Owens. It was who she saw, also desperate for formula -- a father in desperate need of a special formula for his baby girl.

“Much more stressful than my situation. His daughter could only have one type, one brand and he drove two hours to Florence because online it said we had it and we did not,” Owens explained.

When Owens got home she turned to Facebook, writing this post that has been shared 176,000 times.

“I thought maybe my friends list and maybe like one or two people outside of that would see it,” said Owens.

Owens is thankful for the traction the post about running into a dad, also on the formula hunt, has brought.

The comments have also provided help for other parents in similar situations. Right now Owens is trying to coordinate drop-off spots for anyone with extra canisters of food.

“We got to feed our kids and this has really shown that people will do what they have to do to feed their children,” said Owens.

And as parents hunt for formula, make sure you call ahead and make sure the store has your formula before driving there. You’ll also want to check and see how many canisters you’re allowed to buy at once.

For anyone who might have extra, unused formula, Owens has set up two different donation sites.

They are: Howe Springs Fire and Rescue Station 5 located at 4395 South Irby Street Florence, SC 29505 and ELM Pediatrics at 800 W. Main Street Lake City, SC 29560.

You can drop off new canisters of formula at either location Mondays-Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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