Parents with infants were already struggling to keep up on supplies of baby formula due to supply chain kinks when the Food & Drug Administration announced a recall last week on three popular brands. Dr. Maria Montoro Edwards, president and CEO of Maternal and Family Health Services (MFHS), reached out to Commonwealth Charitable Management (CCM). She alerted executive director Christine Clayton of the dire need to ensure that 60 infants in Susquehanna County and 76 in Wyoming County have enough formula.
The shortage is expected to last at least three months, so MFHS and CCM calculated that at least $20,000 would be needed to close that gap. MFHS estimates that, on any given day, half of the 136 children could be in danger of not having formula.
“What makes this even harder is that low-income mothers are limited to purchasing from Pennsylvania-approved stores,” Christine explained. “They can’t just use their WIC money anywhere they want.” MFHS addressed the need by purchasing formula supplies from alternative sources, but the agency needed the funds to do so.
Meeting such a lofty goal in short order was made easier when Coterra Energy stepped up to donate $10,000 through the Neighborhood Assistance Tax Credit Program (NAP). Coterra’s NAP is administered by the CEO Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank, whose administrators recognized the baby formula shortage as a critical and eligible need.
“I reached out to Bill desRosiers of Coterra Energy and, within 24 hours, together with the CEO Weinberg Food Bank, $10,000 was on its way to MHFS,” said Clayton. “To say that we are grateful for their quick and generous support is an understatement.”
I told Dr. Edwards that we were glad to be in a position to assist and that I’d been on the receiving end of a similar shortage. I remember the anxiety during the early days of COVID running store-to-store trying to find formula for our now two-year-old daughter.
“MFHS is truly grateful for Coterra Energy’s generous donation that will go a long way to helping local families through the formula recall shortage,” said Maria. “No parent should worry about how to feed their infant, and your gift will help to ease this burden.”
We weren’t alone, however. The Earle and June Wootton Fund at the Community Foundation of the Endless Mountains contributed another $3,000, and the Women Helping Women Fund contributed the remaining $7,000.
“I’m actually blown away that the community came together so quickly,” Maria stated. While she is optimistic that the formula shortage will abate, she added, “If we end up having to come back to the community again, I know that they will be as generous and responsive. The support WIC offers to families has been critical during the pandemic.”
CCM will manage the funds for the MFHS through its existing Coronavirus Assistance Fund, which can be accessed online. All donations made to the fund through April 15 will go toward feeding the most vulnerable members of the community.