Local WIC programs try to find solutions for mothers, infants in need of formula

The shortage has provided even more strain on those people and infants in need.

Mostly empty shelves at a Fargo store.
Mostly empty shelves in the baby formula aisle at a Fargo store.
Longnecker, Ryan

FARGO — Local WIC programs in Cass and Clay counties hope a recent policy change will help families in need get essential baby formula.

Previously, families were only allowed to buy one variant of Similac brand formulas for both Cass and Clay WIC. But now, they've both opened up access to other alternatives, those that can be bought at the local grocery store, if moms can find them.

"We talk through what those other brands are and what they're seeing. And so this one might work or that one might work, try this one, you'll have to buy that with your own money or with SNAP benefits if you happen to have that," said Kim Vance, Director of Fargo Cass WIC. "It's just been really hard for them."

Vance says with formula so hard to find lately, many of them have had to pay out of pocket for whatever they can get, as most formulas aren't covered by the program.

And on the other side, the people at local programs are just doing what they can to try and help get them what their child needs.


"Phone calls are like, 'I need this.' And I'm like, well, there were six cans at this grocery store this morning. And you know, that's just a snapshot in time, but at the point when they're calling us, they're desperate to find some formula for that baby," said Vance.

Vance added, they hope the restarting the Abbott formula plant in Michigan will help.

However, Abbott representatives say even after they came to an agreement to restart the plant with the FDA Monday, May 16, it could still be as many as six to eight weeks before the plant's formula hits shelves.

Ben Morris joined WDAY in June of 2021 as a news reporter. He grew up in southern New Hampshire, before he moved to Fargo. He majored in media communications and minored in marketing at the University of Toledo in Ohio.
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