South Jersey nonprofit helping mothers get free baby formula

"There's no food to feed our babies right now, so it's really hard. I've looked everywhere," said one mother.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022
South Jersey nonprofit helping mothers get free baby formula
EMBED <>More Videos

"There's no food to feed our babies right now, so it's really hard. I've looked everywhere," said one mother in South Jersey.

BLACKWOOD, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Under fire from parents and politicians, President Joe Biden's administration announced steps Monday to ease a nationwide shortage of baby formula, including reopening the largest domestic manufacturing plant and increasing imports from overseas.

The Food and Drug Administration said it was streamlining its review process to make it easier for foreign manufacturers to begin shipping more formula into the U.S.

"The FDA expects that the measures and steps it's taking with infant formula manufacturers and others will mean more and more supply is on the way or on store shelves moving forward," FDA Commissioner Robert Califf told reporters.

Meanwhile in South Jersey, mothers in need of baby formula lined up outside Unforgotten Haven Monday night.

SEE ALSO: Doctors warn of altering baby formula as families struggle to find supply

"There's no food to feed our babies right now, so it's really hard. I've looked everywhere and this is the first place I found that actually has formula," said Jessica Hayword of Franklinville, New Jersey.

The nonprofit Unforgotten Haven is giving mothers two cans of formula per baby free of charge.

"Since we don't do income verification, a lot of the families that can afford it can't get it. So we're helping everybody," said Michele Gambone who founded the nonprofit.

Abbott's voluntary recall was triggered by four illnesses reported in babies who had consumed powdered formula from its plant. All four infants were hospitalized with a rare type of bacterial infection and two died.

After a six-week inspection, FDA investigators published a list of problems in March, including lax safety and sanitary standards and a history of bacterial contamination in several parts of the plant. Under Monday's agreement, Abbott must regularly consult with an outside safety expert to restart and maintain production.

Experts say even with Abbott's agreement with the FDA to restart production, it could take weeks.

"So unfortunately we're still talking about probably two to three months," said Rob Kelley, a supply chain expert with Headstorm.

By closing time Monday, Unforgotten Haven had helped over 54 families with their formula needs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.