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Groups helping get baby formula to parents during shortage

While the baby formula shortage continues across the country, community members are stepping up to help Arkansas families.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Abbott Labs said it will restart production of baby formula on Monday, as the nation continues to deal with a shortage. 

The factory was shut down earlier this year amid recalls and it could take a couple of months to get things back up and running. 

But some families can't wait that long, so Arkansas community members are stepping into help.

Callie Bench, owner of The Pharmacy of Shannon Hills, noticed that her friends were struggling with what many moms are facing right now. So she decided she should use her platform to help the community.

"Thinking about a mom trying to go to all these different stores just to get there and be disappointed that they don't have what they're looking for," she said.

Bench knows that's a reality for many moms right now as the baby formula shortage hits close to home.

"I'd look on Facebook, and every other post was somebody trying to find this specific formula for their baby," she said.

Bench decided to use that same method through her pharmacy to help moms get the food they need.

"I just decided to just to go on there and be like, 'Hey, y'all can use this as a drop off spot, if y'all'd like. We'd love to take the donations and be able to get it to moms who are looking for the formula for their babies,'" she said.

The post hasn't even been up for a week yet and Bench said the pharmacy already has a bin of donations right next to their prescriptions.

"We are running a business too, but we're keeping an eye on it at night. That's like all we sit there and do, is just put formula with a mom and try to get it out there, so we've been pretty active in it," she said.

The Pharmacy of Shannon Hills isn't the only one stepping up to help worried families. 

The Watershed, a Community Development Agency, is keeping their stock as full as they can, according to Director of Children and Family Services Lisa Davis.

"We got a majority of all the milk that parents need," she said.

Davis said they provide the formula to families on the WIC Program, but their supply is open to anyone who needs it. 

"At this point, they're desperate, so they got to do what they got to do to feed their kid," she said.

Right now, they're giving families about four cans when they come in and Davis is confident their supply will carry families through this scary time.

"God placed us here for a reason, and I know that it's gonna hold, as long as we give it to the parents right, and the parents that come over here that actually needs it. It'll hold for the next three weeks," she said.

You can comment on The Pharmacy of Shannon Hills Facebook post, if there's a certain formula you need or if you want to drop some off. 

The Watershed is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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