Most weekends, Jamie Lackey, the founder of Helping Mamas, travels the state distributing free baby food to upwards of 300 families at a time. The current formula shortage has been of top concern for families she’s seen recently in Atlanta, Muscogee County and elsewhere across Georgia.

“Everyone’s just kind of limping along right now,” Lackey said. “You’ve got families that are already under high-stress situations [during the Covid-19 pandemic], and now they’re struggling to feed their child.”

With shelves empty, many Georgians, such as Ashley Lauren, have launched social-media groups for moms to share where they’re seeing formula available and to donate extra formula supplies that they bought but don’t need.

“I decided to take this need to Facebook because I was defeated in finding formula in stores,” said Lauren, who created a private Facebook group for mothers in Gwinnett County in April that now has close to 1,000 members. “Lo and behold, moms are coming out of the woodwork.”

Besides sharing tips on where to get formula, Lauren said her group’s members have frequently complained about local stores refusing to let them buy certain formula products with WIC vouchers.

Morgan Hess, a Gwinnett mother of a 6-month-old son who helps Lauren with the Facebook group, said even the additional brands WIC have approved for purchase under the program are often wiped out at local stores.

“This formula shortage is horrible,” Hess said. “I feel that with the rising cost of gas prices, too, this formula shortage is even harder.”

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