RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) — As families struggle to find formula, a Richmond nonprofit, Little Hands Virginia, is hosting a formula drive this week.
The donation campaign began when mothers at VCU Children’s Hospital showed up at the emergency room because they couldn’t find the formula they needed. VCU also did not have enough supplies to distribute to these mothers.
“People are literally calling every day asking where to find formula to feed their children,” said Erica Jackson, a social worker at VCU Hospital.
Little Hands Virginia partners with VCU and heard of the hospital’s struggle to find formula. Little Hands is now running a campaign to collect formula donations which will then be sent to VCU and Children’s Hospital. Many families receiving infant formula in the hospital have little or no income.
“We take donations from the community, clean, sort and store them, then send them out with volunteers as needed,” said Ashley Raggi, director of operations for Little Hands Virginia.
Little Hands also struggled to get donations during the shortage. Volunteers often have to search online to try and find supplies.
“We’ve done our best to try and find them when we can, or if people see them by chance, we pick them up and bring them,” said Little Hands volunteer Julie Stevenson.
During formula shortages, it’s hard for everyone to find what they need, but it can be especially difficult for families on WIC, SNAP, or other assistance. Many of these government assistance programs limit what you can buy, such as specialty formula, which has become even harder to find amid this shortage.
“So you might walk into the store and say, ‘Oh, there’s formula there. What’s the problem?’ But that’s not the kind of preparation the baby needs,” Raggi explained.
Collection will run until Thursday and you can drop off donations between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Little Hands, located at 7101 Forest Hill Avenue Suite L in Richmond.
VCU would like to point out that it will give this formula to the families with which it already works directly. Community members will not be able to simply show up at the hospital to get formula.
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