As the baby formula shortage continues across the Kansas City metro and the country, local parents are using Facebook groups to fill in the gaps.
With a quick search, you can find a number of parenting groups on Facebook that are dedicated to fostering community on the social media site. Now with the ongoing formula shortage, those same groups are working to connect parents to the formula and advice they need.
Leanna Greene, a first time mom in South Overland Park, said she relied on these kinds of mommy groups for everyday advice, but when the formula shortage set in, those same mom groups were bombarded with posts about where to find baby formula.
Eventually, Green decided to create an independent group dedicated to connecting moms to baby formula in Kansas City. She calls it the “Formula Exchange.”
“I was just on my lunch break one day and I created it. And within an hour, I probably had like 200 group members, “ Greene told The Star. “People were just saying thank you for finally creating something like this.”
Since starting the Formula Exchange group a few weeks ago, it has grown to 575 people and counting. Greene said members of the group post new cans of formula for sale and updates of which stores in Kansas City have baby formula in stock.
The group has been especially useful for Greene herself, who said she typically drives to more than five stores in search of baby formula for her 8-month old daughter, Aurora. Last week, a parent in the Formula Exchange posted that a local Target had a brand new shipment of formula in stock. That same day, another mom posted that she was able to snag four cans from Target and was willing to share with other moms in need.
“I was at work that day, so I couldn’t get to them. And so I met up with her and I paid her for that can of formula,” Greene said. “Now I probably have enough formula to get through maybe the next three weeks.”
How to join Facebook groups like the Formula Exchange
Everyone who requests to join the Formula Exchange must answer a few questions. Including “Are you currently formula feeding your baby?” and “Why do you want to join this group?”
There are also some community guidelines that you must agree to, including no hate speech, respect for other people’s privacy, and no sharing political views or opinions.
After answering the questions and agreeing to the guidelines, your membership will be considered by the group’s administration.
There are similar groups on Facebook where parents can find formula. Some groups like the Formula Exchange are intended for selling and swapping goods.
While others might be more general parenting groups. Make sure to read all the community guidelines before joining to make sure the group welcomes posts about where to find baby formula.
How to buy and sell formula from the community?
When trying to buy a can of formula from someone you met online, it’s important to be cautious. Greene suggests always meeting people in a public space or bringing a friend along with you.
Greene also cautions against buying open cans of formula.
“Make sure they’re all closed and that they [aren’t] expired. Just because the formula expires like a month after you open it,” Greene said.
Other Facebook Groups that may connect you to formula
For more tips on how to navigate the baby formula shortage, check out The Star’s guide here.