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Early childhood learning centers in Cleveland brace for fallout from infant formula shortage

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Posted at 4:38 PM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-16 18:23:21-04

CLEVELAND — Scarce supply, empty shelves, and stressed parents — as the federal government steps in to try and end the on-going infant formula shortage, it's not just moms and dads scrambling to keep their babies happy and healthy.

At The Centers' seven early childhood learning sites across Cleveland, staff members have been keeping a close watch on their infant formula stockpile.

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"We provide formula for the children," said Kerry Jamieson, who oversees health and nutrition for the early childhood learning centers, adding that they have about a two-week stock on hand.

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With more than two dozen babies from low-income families to feed, that won't last very long.

"We looked into ordering more formula once we heard about the shortage, and it started becoming increasingly more difficult," said Jamieson.

Amazon, where The Centers typically turns to replenish, was out of stock, as were the big-box retailers across Northeast Ohio.

"If we're having this much trouble finding it in the area, it's scary to think about the families that we serve and [how] other families in the area are managing it," said Jamieson.

The Centers is facing an even greater struggle.

With the bulk of their families using federal funding, they try to provide the only WIC-approved option at their sites.

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"We're seeing that specific formula is the hardest to find," said Jamieson.

Unable to replenish what's going out in bottles right now, Jamieson and her team are turning to generic brands.

"We started to buy a couple of those so that if it does come to a point where the Enfamil we typically provide is completely unavailable, we'll have something to provide to our families," said Jamieson.

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A basic needs community shop at The Centers' Euclid Avenue location is well-stocked with formula right now.

The staff there told News 5 they suspect families are using up what they have before requesting assistance.

The supply is also on stand-by should one of the early childhood learning sites run out.

With inventory still in short supply, a Northeast Ohio doctor is coordinating a baby formula exchange.

RELATED: Local doctor helping Northeast Ohioans find formula amid nationwide shortage