NEW BRITAIN, Conn. — Baby formula and diaper shelves are beginning to look emptier, so organizations that help families with free diapers, formulas, and baby supplies are working to keep up.
"There is a great need, and that need needs to be fulfilled," explained Rosa Smith-Hill, Founder of Reality Outreach.
Smith-Hill explained that before the pandemic, Reality Outreach would serve about 20 families a week. But now, between COVID, shortages, recalls, and supply chain issues-- that number has more than doubled.
"The number of women calling for diapers is almost alarming because we don't have enough at the time, and sometimes we have to call people and ask them to donate on the spot just to make sure families have what they need," explained Smith- Hill.
Smith-Hill said not only is baby formula hard to come by, but many families can't afford to keep up with the cost.
"Formula is expensive, very expensive," stressed Smith-Hill. "So, if we're not getting it donated, some of these families are going without their having to find other resources and do other things."
However, while families are desperate to find formula alternatives during this shortage, doctors advise against homemade formulas.
"There's a chance for bacterial infection through those homemade formulas, so we recommend against making your own formula," explained Rachel Dawkins, MD, with John Hopkins All Children's Hospital.
With an ongoing mission to help underrepresented communities, Smith-Hill said Reality Outreach hosts food and diaper drives at Maria's Soul Latin to help get resources out into the community.
"I feel like we have a responsibility to go into our communities and let them know that there are more resources available to them than at their current disposal," said Smith-Hill. "And nobody's going to do that if we don't."
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This is precisely why Maria Soul Latin's owner, Maria King, said she opens her space and volunteers with Reality Outreach.
"This community is why Maria Soul Latin is even standing, so I will do all I can to put back and pour back in because they're pouring into me," passionately explained King.
Raquel Harrington is the race and culture reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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