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Central Texas moms start group to help others find formula amid shortages

Posted at 5:27 PM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-16 19:41:18-04

TEMPLE, Texas — Brittany Matthews is a mother from Killeen. Her son Malachi has certain allergies, which means he can't handle most formulas except for just one.

"As soon as the plant shut down, I couldn't find it anywhere," Matthews told 25 News. "The only way I could get it is through WIC and they had to get it directly from the manufacturer. They quickly became backlogged on the ones he was allowed to have."

The shortage comes after a string of babies getting ill and even one death in Texas, all linked to an Abbott Nutrition plant. The FDA called for the plant shutdown over a bacteria outbreak.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Abbott's brand is one of the largest formula providers in the US. Their products accounted for 42 percent of all products in the country last year. The recall is now leaving parents struggling to feed their children.

"I probably cry about it at least once a week because I feel kind of like a failure and hopeless sometimes thinking I'm not going to be able to feed my son," Matthews said.

Matthews knew she was not alone in her search and decided to help other parents also looking for formula.

"I figured I'm already out here looking, why not take a picture of what I'm seeing, the location, time and name of the store and add it to a post so people who are looking can see 'oh this store has what I need," she said.

Matthews recently partnered with Temple mom Laura Pittman to start the Central Texas Formula Search group on Facebook.

"I don't want money, I don't want anything from anyone. I just want to make sure your babies have food," Pittman said. "If it was my daughter and I needed the help, I know people would help."

The group now has almost 1,000 members, all working together to help each other feed their children.

"We have people that literally go to stores and have no children at all, then send me and Brittany pictures and say 'this is what Temple has or this is what Harker Heights has'. That to me shows people really do care in the community," Pittman said.

The mother has been able to help moms as far as Austin and even Houston.

"It breaks my heart, but also warms my heart to see people helping people that they don't really have to help," Pittman added.

"It's a good feeling knowing I might not have the formula to give out, but if I can tell people where it is they can get their kids fed," Matthews said.

The group is still accepting new members and hopes to help as many parents as possible.