Amid baby food shortages, SC mom goes viral for a post about ‘frantic’ dad at the grocery store

Amid baby food shortages, SC mom goes viral for a post about ‘frantic’ dad at the grocery store

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Like many other parents of young children across America, mom Sara Owens of Florence County, South Carolina is concerned about whether she will have enough baby food to feed her six-month-old daughter, Naomi Reece.

With the current shortage of infant formula in many parts of the country, Owens is also concerned for other parents and families who are in the same plight – and she’s upset about the situation overall.

“My experience of formula shortages has become a daily worry.”

Owens said she doesn’t think she’ll ever have to fight to get enough food for her little girl.

“The feeling that your heart is beating faster when you see the bottom of the formula can and wonder if you can ever find more,” is the worst part, she told Fox News Digital via email this week.

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“My experience of the formula shortage has become a daily concern instead of a weekly concern,” she also said. “I had to start searching almost every day [out of] Afraid that I would miss a store’s replenishment. It’s gone from worry to fear.”

Sara Owens, from South Carolina, is pictured with her six-month-old daughter, Naomi Reece.  (Sara Owens)

Sara Owens, from South Carolina, is pictured with her six-month-old daughter, Naomi Reece. (Sara Owens)

Owens told Fox News Digital on Friday, “For the last two weeks … family members in other states have been reviewing deals for me. They send me pictures of empty shelves.”

“On our southern border there are pallets of baby food – but our babies don’t have any.”

She added: “In the beginning, if I couldn’t find the formula in my area, one of my relatives could usually find it where they live. Just in the last 24 to 48 hours the whole experience has become more frustrating because of the media finding out that there are pallets of baby food on our southern border – but our babies don’t have them.”

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A few weeks ago, the South Carolina mom was so frustrated with the lack of baby food for America’s infants that she took to social media — and the post she shared on April 25 went viral. To date, it has over 180,000 shares and 34,000 reactions.

Naomi Reece, just six months old, is the daughter of Sara Owens from South Carolina.  When it comes to nutrition, she relies entirely on baby food.  (Sara Owens)

Naomi Reece, just six months old, is the daughter of Sara Owens from South Carolina. When it comes to nutrition, she relies entirely on baby food. (Sara Owens)

Among other things, Owens wrote: “My heart broke into 100 pieces in the formula aisle at Walmart today.”

“I saw an obviously frantic and desperate dad almost jogging towards the baby area, which is where I went,” she added.

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“In the end we were both looking at the empty formula shelves and he started crying, tears running down his face. I asked what formula he was looking for and he said he drove all the way from the beach after going to all the Walmarts & Targets there and saw that Walmart in Florence had the formula but it didn’t.”

“Seeing someone cry & [saying] not knowing what they’re going to do is absolutely heartbreaking and shouldn’t be happening in America.”

“I helped him look and he just kept saying, ‘I don’t know what to do, this is the only formula she can tolerate and it has to be high-calorie.’ As tears continued to stream down his face, he said, ‘I never thought I would cry because I can’t find what my child needs!'”

Many grocery store shelves are currently empty or almost empty due to the current shortage of baby food.  Fox News Digital employees took this photo this week at a store in New York's lower Hudson Valley.

Many grocery store shelves are currently empty or almost empty due to the current shortage of baby food. Fox News Digital employees took this photo this week at a store in New York’s lower Hudson Valley.
(Fox News Digital)

Owens also wrote: “I have struggled with other parents to find formulas for my child but seeing someone cry & [saying] not knowing what they’re going to do is absolutely heartbreaking and shouldn’t be happening in America.”

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She added: “If our news media can report when we have had a toilet paper shortage, they can report it! … Parents, we need to flood timelines and inboxes with this issue until it comes to light and causes as much buzz as the toilet paper shortage does in 2020! [the] political party or what, our babies matter more!”

Here is her contribution:

Other people have responded to her first post, sharing their own frustration and irritation.

One person wrote: “This is so sad. Praying this crisis does not last. To pray for all mothers and fathers in the same place.”

“So sad. I hope someone can do something about it quickly.”

Another wrote: “Only in our new America you can’t feed your hungry babies.”

Someone else wrote: “Formula shelves were low here in Kentucky too. I checked. So sad. I hope someone can do something about it quickly.”

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Another person simply exclaimed, “This scares me so much!”

Owens said there is no word to sum up the frantic feeling of looking for food for a baby.

Parents like Sara Owens (left, with her baby daughter) are scrambling for baby formula amid supply disruptions and a safety recall.

Parents like Sara Owens (left, with her baby daughter) are scrambling for baby formula amid supply disruptions and a safety recall.
(Sara Owens/AP Photo/Eric Gay)

The new mom said she reached out to family members in other states, spent hours searching the internet, and even waited in her car in a store lot for a van hoping to find what she needed.

“Ultimately, it will require the American people to come together to help one another until the supply problem stabilizes,” she said.

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As Fox News and FOX Business reported, the current shortage began earlier this year due to supply chain issues, but was then compounded by the closure of a formula plant in Sturgis, Michigan.

In a press release on Friday, Abbott Nutrition said that the company has “air-shipped millions of cans of infant formula to the United States” since it closed its Sturgis, Michigan facility in February US Food and Drug Administration-registered facility in Cootehill, Ireland.

These shelves, displayed at a store in New York, had very little baby food for sale this week.

These shelves, displayed at a store in New York, had very little baby food for sale this week.
(Fox News Digital)

Abbott has closed and issued its Sturgis facility reminds of certain formulas amid an FDA investigation following complaints that four infants who allegedly consumed formula made at the plant contracted bacterial infections. Two of those babies died.

“We spend billions of dollars in other countries and send thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars of formula to our southern border!”

For her part, Sara Owens tries to help others like herself who are looking for formulas. She participates in coordinating fundraisers in local areas of her city.

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She hopes the community can come together and help other families in need.

Owens recently posted this additional note on Facebook: “The baby formula shortage runs so much deeper than ‘we just don’t have formula.’ Congresswoman Kat Cammack [of Florida] proves it by tweeting a picture of formula cases on the southern border.”

Here’s the tweet she’s referring to:

Owens added, “Imagine how many taxpayers or children of American citizens that would feed.

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She also said, “We cannot help others while our own people are starving!”

Owens closed with these two hashtags: #feedourbabies and #fightforkids.

Breck Dumas and Daniella Genovese of FOX Business contributed to this article.

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