Local Facebook group mobilizes people to hunt for formula nationwide
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - As caretakers nationwide continue to seek baby formula, a Bowling Green State University Alumna has mobilized a troop of people willing to hunt and send formula to families in need.
Christine Robinson created Formula Hunters, a formula tracking database via Facebook, to help caretakers and mothers by matchmaking them with people willing to purchase formula during routine trips to grocery stores.
“Imagine you’re a mom and you need formula so you’re calling stores, looking online, and checking as many places as you can,” Robinson said. “It’s much more efficient to have hundreds of people in this group looking for your formula for you.”
So how does it work?
Members of the Formula Hunters Facebook group fill out a form with their name, child’s formula brand, and how soon they’ll run out. The information is pulled into a database prioritized by need and viewable by the group.
“Essentially what we do is take inventory of the needs of individuals who are caretakers or parents of infants that need certain types of formula and we capture that in a database, where we put together a systematic approach to prioritize and essentially distribute the data of who’s next in line. From there we match-make between the people who have the formula or are willing to purchase it and those who need it,” Robinson said.
The group solely deals with donations only to circumvent any risk of potential scams.
“We’re not having any sort of cash or funds change hands. If you’re looking to pay the person who sent you the formula we ask that you pay it forward to the next person on the list,” Robinson said.
“Essentially what we do is we take inventory of the needs of individuals who are caretakers or parents of infants that need certain types of formula and we capture that in a database, where we put together a systematic approach to prioritize and essentially distribute the data of who’s next in line and from there we match-make between the people who have the formula or are willing to purchase it and those who need it,” Robinson said.
The group launched in May has reached over 1,000 members and has helped nearly 250 babies in need. For Robinson, a mother of three, it has been rewarding to build a community of individuals willing to selflessly help one another.
“I have a five-month-old that’s primarily formula fed and with that, it was personal to me. I was struggling to find his formula,” Robinson said it isn’t that stores are without a formula but moreso regions are without specific kinds.
“You’ll see in a number of places where someone will go into a store and find formula but it’s not the kind they’re looking for. Someone else has found the exact kind that person is looking for but they’re in New York City and the person that needs it is in Albuquerque and that’s where the need really started to kick in,” she said.
According to the group’s Facebook page, Brie Sedberry, a mother in Waco, Texas, was able to receive the hypoallergenic formula she needed after a fellow mother nearly 1,600 miles away in Philadelphia mailed her two bottles.
“You’ll never know just how grateful I am,” Sedberry wrote on Facebook. “I drove 60 miles yesterday looking for my son’s formula and can’t find it. This helps so much.”
Individuals interested in lending a helping hand can assist by joining the Facebook group.
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