Amid the baby formula shortage, SC mom goes viral for post about 'frantic' dad at the grocery store
Michelle Willard describes her desperate search to find baby formula on 'America Reports.'NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
Like many other parents of young children across America right now, mom Sara Owens of Florence County, South Carolina, is worried about whether or not she'll have enough baby formula to feed her six-month-old daughter, Naomi Reece.
Given the current shortage of formula In many parts of the country, Owens is also worried about other parents and families who are in the same predicament — and she's upset at the situation overall.
"My experience with the formula shortage has become a daily concern."
Owens said that she did not think she would ever have to struggle to provide enough food for her baby girl.
"The feeling of your heart speeding up as you see the bottom of the formula can and wondering if you’ll ever be able to find more" is the worst, she told Fox News Digital this week by email.
"My experience with the formula shortage has become a daily concern instead of a weekly concern," she also said. "I've had to begin searching almost every day [out of] fear I would miss a store restocking. It's gone from concern to fear."
Sara Owens of South Carolina is pictured with her six-month-old daughter, Naomi Reece. (Sara Owens)
Owens told Fox News Digital on Friday, "In just these last two weeks … I have had family members checking stores for me in other states. They are sending me pictures of empty shelves."
"There are pallets of formula at our southern border — yet our babies don’t have any."
She added, "In the beginning, if I couldn’t find the formula in my area, one of my relatives could usually find it where they live. Just in the last 24-48 hours, the whole experience has become more frustrating, due to finding out per the media that there are pallets of formula at our southern border — yet our babies don’t have any."
A few weeks ago, the South Carolina mom was so frustrated by the lack of baby formula for America's infants that she took to social media to vent — and the post she shared on April 25 went viral. To date, it has over 180,000 shares and 34,000 reactions.
Naomi Reece, just six months old, is the daughter of Sara Owens of South Carolina. She relies completely on baby formula for nutrition. (Sara Owens)
Owens wrote, in part, "My heart broke to 100 pieces on the formula aisle in Walmart today."
"I saw an obviously frantic & distressed dad almost in a jog going towards the baby area, which is where I was going also," she added.
"We both ended up looking at the empty formula shelves & he started to cry, tears rolling down his face. I asked which formula he was looking for & he said he drove all the way from the beach after going to all the Walmarts & Targets there & saw that Walmart in Florence had the formula, but it didn’t."
"To see someone crying & [saying] they don’t know what they will do is absolutely heartbreaking & shouldn’t happen in America."
"I helped him look & he just kept saying, ‘I don’t know what to do, this is the only formula she can tolerate & she has to have high calorie.’ As tears continued to stream down his face, he said, ‘I never thought I would be crying because I can’t find what my child has to have!’"
Many grocery store shelves are empty or nearly empty right now due to the current baby formula shortage. Fox News Digital staff snapped this photo at a store in the lower Hudson Valley area of New York this week. (Fox News Digital)
Owens wrote as well, "I have struggled along with other parents to find formulas for my child, but to see someone crying & [saying] they don’t know what they will do is absolutely heartbreaking & shouldn’t happen in America."
She added, "If our news medias can cover when we had a toilet paper shortage, they can cover this! … Parents, we need to flood timelines & inboxes with this issue until it's brought to light & made as big a deal as the toilet paper shortage in 2020! No matter [the] political party or what, our babies matter more!"
Here's her post:
Other people have been responding to her initial post and sharing their own frustration and upset.
One person wrote, "This is so sad. Praying this crisis does not last. Praying for all moms and dads in the same spot."
"So sad. I hope someone can do something about this fast."
Another wrote, "Only in our new America can you not feed your hungry babies."
Someone else wrote, "The formula shelves were low here in Kentucky, too. I checked. So sad. I hope someone can do something about this fast."
Another person simply exclaimed, "This scares me so bad!"
Owens said there is not one word to sum up the frantic feeling of scrambling to find food for a baby.
Parents such as Sara Owens (left, with her infant daughter) are scrambling to find baby formula amid supply disruptions and a safety recall. (Sara Owens/AP Photo/Eric Gay)
The new mom said she reached out to family members in other states, spent hours searching the internet and even waited in her car in a store parking lot for a delivery truck to arrive in the hope of finding what she needed.
"Ultimately, it is going to take the American people coming together to help each other until the supply issue is stabilized," she said.
In a press release on Friday, Abbott Nutrition said that since the shuttering of its Sturgis, Michigan, facility in February, the company has "air shipped millions of cans of infant formula powder into the U.S." from its U.S. Food and Drug Administration-registered plant in Cootehill, Ireland.
These shelves shown at a store in New York had very little baby formula for sale this week. (Fox News Digital)
Abbott closed its Sturgis plant and issued recalls on certain formulas amid an FDA investigation following complaints that four infants who consumed formula allegedly made at the plant became ill with bacterial infections. Two of those babies died.
"We are spending billions of dollars in other countries & sending thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in formula to our southern border!"
Sara Owens, for her part, is trying to help others like herself who are searching for formula. She's taking part in coordinating donation drop-offs at local areas in her town.
She hopes the community can come together and help other families in need.
Owens posted this additional note on Facebook recently: "The baby formula shortage is so much deeper than ‘we just don’t have formula.’ Congresswoman Kat Cammack [of Florida] proves it by tweeting a picture of cases of formula at the southern border."
Here is the tweet she referenced:
Owens added, "Imagine how many taxpayers or American citizens' children that would feed. We are spending billions of dollars in other countries & sending thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in formula to our southern border!"
She said as well, "We cannot help others while our own people are starving!"
Owens finished with these two hashtags: #feedourbabies and #fightforkids.
Breck Dumas and Daniella Genovese of FOX Business contributed reporting to this article.