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Minnesota Parents Turn To Social Media To Help Find Baby Formula

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The production of baby formula may soon be increasing thanks to two new measures by the White House.

President Biden is invoking the defense production act to increase the manufacturing of baby formula and he is also authorizing the pentagon to use its military cargo plans to fly in formula from overseas producers.

This follows Monday's announcement that the Food and Drug Administration came to a deal with Abbott Northwestern to reopen the company's production plant in Michigan, in an effort to ease the nationwide shortage of formula.

The updates provide some relief to millions, but parents will still have to wait roughly ten more weeks for the new supply to hit store shelves.

In the meantime, Minnesotans are turning to social media in the search for formula.

Tosha Anderson started the Facebook group Formula Finder – Minnesota on May 11. Since then, nearly 3,200 people across the state have joined and update the page at all hours of the day of what types of formula are available and where people can find them.

She said the group provides some comfort not just to her, but to parents everywhere.

"Having to ask yourself where is that next bottle going to come from, it's a hard pill to swallow because you feel so bad you're helpless. And that was one of the big reasons for starting this group is so that people don't feel helpless [and] that they feel like they've got someone in their corner looking out for them," she said.

In addition to encouraging others to join the group, Anderson said she's noticed stores restocking what they have throughout the day so she encourages people to try looking at different times. She also recommends to continue looking at the stores that people have had luck at before since she's noticed stores tend to get shipments of the same things.

Beth Blanchard also started the Facebook group SEMN Formula Finder for those looking for formula in Southeast Minnesota.

Blanchard's youngest of three children is 7 months old, and she too has had trouble finding formula.

While she said there are a number of group that have provided a lot of help to Minnesotans, often times the posts are related to more populated areas where there are more options to search for formula and parents who live outside of the metro don't necessarily have time to make the drive. And if they do, the formula might be gone by the time they get there.

"It takes a village," Blanchard laughed. "And we're just putting the village all in one space so we can try to help each other out. Because maybe we don't have the formula that we need or maybe we see something else that someone else might need. So sharing is caring. It takes just a couple of minutes to post, and thankfully that's really be a tool and a helpful asset for a lot of moms around here looking."

Blanchard said she's had some luck asking store employees when their next delivery trucks will arrive and a number of people in the group have offered to pick up for others and share what they have.

Some have also had some luck on the Minnesota Free and Trade Formula Facebook group that formed several years ago. While people aren't allowed to buy formula from others in the group, those with an excess supply can offer it for free to those in need or for a trade of a different type of formula.

To join Formula Finder Minnesota, click here. To join SEMN Formula Finder, click here. To join Minnesota Free and Trade Formula, click here.

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