By – Ian Gargan
Olympic champion Shawn Johnson has come to the aid of mothers during our most recent FDA catastrophe. Johnson and her husband have begun the “Baby Formula Exchange,” a website that connects a community of people who have infant formula to those that are looking for infant formula. They ask a series of questions to match people with the brand or types they need.
Johnson was inspired by her personal struggles as a new mother. She had a tough time finding formula for her 10-month-old son Jett and she began to run low. After searching everywhere, she could not find the brand she needed. She spoke to a friend of a friend who then connected her with another friend who was willing to ship it from Pittsburgh to her home in Tennessee. This got her thinking, “is there a way we can actually connect all of you to other mamas who have formula?”
The community is encouraged to sell or donate formula based on the brand. This makes it easier for mothers when searching for what they need. Once a connection is made, they can coordinate the shipping and payment among themselves. If it is not being donated, mothers will be asked to pay market value and pay for shipping costs. After perusing the message board, it shows how beautiful the hearts of hundreds of incredible patriots are. They are willing to take time out of their day to help strangers. But it’s not just infant mothers helping infant mothers. People with children of all ages are checking their cabinets for sealed cans they may have left behind. Others are keeping an eye on store shelves to spread the news of restocks. Breastfeeding mothers have been increasing their pumping and offering their own breastmilk to mothers in leu of formula.
The Baby Formula Exchange is also posting resources such as “where to buy formula online?” They point out stores selling formula online like “Bed Bath & Beyond,” a store you would think never stocks infant formula. They offer links to lesser-known companies like Byheart which boasts exceptional formula quality and Bobbie, an online retailer known for their organic infant formula.
With Americans being more divided than ever, whether it be social, race, gender, or economic issues, we come together in crisis. Being a parent transcends everything else. They create communities based on nothing besides a shared experience. The FDA’s slow reaction to substandard formula plant conditions is what led to this shortage, and the only effort by the Biden administration was to offer the FDA $25 million to cover their mission’s failure. Shawn and Andrew decided to take action rather than point fingers and for that, we salute them both!