Angels of Long Island held a baby formula drive in East Patchogue for those in need of formula during the current shortage. Credit: John Roca

Alyssa Marzano, 29, said she will lose a little less sleep over the next two weeks thanks to an infant formula giveaway in East Patchogue on Wednesday to help parents who can’t find certain brands due to a nationwide shortage.

“This will last two weeks,” Marzano, of Patchogue, said of the can of Nutramigen Hypoallergenic formula she was given at the free event. “Half a month that I don’t have to stress about how to feed my baby.”

Angels of Long Island organized the giveaway and posted about it on Facebook, inviting parents to come to the charity’s store to pick from more than half a dozen brands stacked on an outdoor table.

The more than 100 cans of powdered and liquid options had been donated to the nonprofit, which helps families in crisis, said founder Debbie Loesch. Typically, the charity does events for back-to-school, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and stocks baby products for families in financial need. The formula shortage is affecting more than just their typical clientele, Loesch said. It’s not that the parents can’t afford the formula, it’s that they can’t even find it in stores or online, or, when they can, they are limited in the number they can buy at one time. 

The state Attorney General's Office on Wednesday urged New Yorkers to be on alert for potential price gouging of baby formula and to report any dramatic price increases to 800-771-7755.

“I saw it on Facebook, and I ran right over," said Marzano of the giveaway. , The stay-at-home mom brought her 4-month-old Dominic with her.  Dominic had trouble digesting breast milk and so she had to switch him to formula. “I sometimes can go to seven different stores and not find any,” Marzano said of the shortage.

The shortages became widespread in February after powdered formulas manufactured by Abbott Nutrition in a Michigan plant were thought to be linked to bacterial infections in infants and the company voluntarily recalled them and halted production. The recall exacerbated problems already caused by general supply chain issues facing many industries due to the pandemic.

Gina and Louis Cheeseman, of Sound Beach, for instance, typically get their 10-month-old son Matteo’s Nutramigen Hypoallergenic formula through a prescription at their local pharmacy because Matteo has a milk protein allergy, but the pharmacy hasn’t been able to procure any.

“What if we can’t find it? What are we going to do?” said Gina, 35, who works at a hospital. Matteo uses 14 cans a month.

Kristi Pappas, 39, a social worker from South Setauket, arrived at the giveaway to donate six extra cans of formula that she didn’t need. “Mothers helping mothers,” she said.


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