Richmond non-profit hosting formula drive
As families struggle to find formula, a Richmond non-profit is holding a formula drive this week
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As families struggle to find baby formula, a Richmond non-profit, “Little Hands Virginia,” is holding a formula drive this week.
The donation drive started when VCU Children’s Hospital had mothers showing up to their emergency department because they couldn’t find the formula they needed. VCU didn’t have enough supply to give out to those mothers either.
“People are calling literally every day trying to figure out where to get formula to feed their children,” said Erica Jackson, a social worker at VCU Hospital.
Little Hands Virginia partners with VCU and heard about the hospital’s struggle to find formula. Little Hands is now holding a drive to collect formula donations that will then be sent out to VCU and Children’s Hospital. Many families getting formula from the hospital have little or no income.
“We take in donations from the community, and we clean and sort and store them, and then we send them out with volunteers as needed,” said Ashley Raggi, Little Hands Virginia’s director of operations.
Little Hands has also struggled to get donations during the shortage. Volunteers often have to look online to try to find supplies.
“We’ve done our best to try to track those down when we can, or if people see them by chance, we pick them up and bring them in,” Little Hands volunteer Julie Stevenson said.
During the formula shortage, it’s tough for everyone to find what they need, but it can be especially difficult for families on WIC, SNAP, or other assistance. Many of those government assistant programs limit what you can buy, like a specialty formula, which has become even more difficult to find amid this shortage.
“So you might walk into the store and say, ‘Oh, there’s formula there. What’s the problem?’ But that is not the actual type of formula that baby needs,” explained Raggi.
The drive will run through Thursday, and you can drop off donations between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Little Hands, located at 7101 Forest Hill Avenue Suite L in Richmond.
VCU wants to clarify that it will be giving this formula to families that they already work with directly. Community members won’t be able to just show up to the hospital to get formula.
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