NEW YORK - In light of reported baby formula shortages, communities on Long Island are coming together and holding distributions.
"It’s horrifying," said Angels of Long Island Founder Debbie Loesch. "I have 5 grandkids myself."
A table is set up outside of Angels of Long Island in Patchogue where parents like Gina and Louis Cheeseman can pick up formulas that some parents are saying are hard to get ahold of.
"They’re angels," Gina said. "That’s truly what they are."
The Cheeseman’s 10-month-old son Matteo requires a specialty formula that Is covered by insurance.
"The pharmacy normally gets it but they can’t even get it at this point," Louis said.
And the situation is only getting worse.
The formula crisis stems from the recall of three formulas produced at Abbott Labs in Sturgis, Michigan.
Health experts say while it’s difficult for all parents - low-income families are having the toughest time.
"The WIC program," said Dr. Marc Lashley with Allied Physicians Group. "There are people who don’t qualify and have to go traveling and looking at different stores it’s very hard for them."
Dr. Marc Lashley says the majority of babies can switch to store brands. He cautions parents to stop short of watering down the formula or making their own as it can lead to poor nutritional balance.
"Don’t use cows milk or goats milk they’re not approved for those under 12 months of age," he said. "Infant formula contains very important things that infants need."
Since the shutdown of Abbott’s facility - other manufacturers including Bobbie have prioritized serving its current subscribers and ramped up production to max capacity.
"Within the first week of the recall Bobbie saw its customer counts double, weeks following we saw an increase and growth was not slowing down," said Bobbie CEO Laura Modi.
Places like Angels of Long Island are also accepting formula donations while the shortage lasts. As long as they have a supply they’ll be sharing as much as they can.
"It’s a half a month I don’t have to stress how I’m going to feed my baby," said one mom.
Any little bit helps.