Texas Restaurant Owner Has Been Giving Away Cans of Baby Formula in Face of National Shortage

Any parent knows how much work goes into making sure their child is healthy and safe. For many parents in the United States, getting their infants the nutrition they need has become increasingly difficult in the face of the national infant formula shortage. The shortage was started by supply chain issues and went into overdrive due to recalls and the shutdown of the country's largest infant formula plant. And while President Biden and the FDA are doing everything they can to get shelves restocked, people in local communities are also stepping up to help. One person who is doing just that is Benji Arslanovski, the owner of Our Place restaurant in Mansfield, Texas.

As a father of three, Arslanovski is sympathetic to families who worry about not being able to feed their babies. So, he decided to ask his restaurant's supplier, US Foods, whether or not they had formula in stock. To his surprise, they did. And, what's more, no one had been ordering it. So, after Arslanovski double-checked that no health care center was asking for the formula, he placed his first order.

Baby Formula Shortage at Grocery Store

The infant formula shortage has reached over 40% in some areas of the country. (Photo: Colleen Michaels/Depositphotos)

Then, he went to his restaurant's Facebook page and let people know that, if they needed it, he had formula available. “I said you don't need to eat here or be a customer—if you need some, come and get it because no baby should go without,” he told CBS News.

While Arslanovski had initially intended to charge families what he'd paid for the formula, he quickly changed his mind. “When the moms were so happy that they found some formula, I couldn't charge them.” In less than a week, he'd already given away 300 cans of formula, which costs about $4,000. He plans to continue ordering formula from US Food and giving it to those in need until the crisis passes.

Hopefully, Arslanovski won't have to keep up his good deed for long, as the Abbott baby formula plant is set to reopen in the next two weeks. And the first shipment of baby formula from Europe touched down in the U.S. yesterday. This shipment contained 70,000 pounds of formula as part of Operation Fly Formula. FedEx will begin distributing across the country immediately.

This Texas restaurant owner sourced infant formula from his commercial supplier and has been giving it away to families in need.

h/t: [CBS News]

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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