The nation-wide formula shortage has had a particularly heavy impact on San Antonio families. Any Baby Can of San Antonio (ABC) is working hard to help those families gain access to formula and other safe nourishment as well as share safe practices, additional resources and other important information with families in need. Serving 16 counties in the San Antonio area, ABC remains the only agency in the region to offer critical access to care and comprehensive services for families of children with special healthcare needs including case management, counseling services, funeral assistance, autism programs, sibling support and prescription assistance at no cost.
Since mid-May, they’ve become the go-to for San Antonio parents and caregivers desperate for formula. While ordinarily a medical diagnosis would be needed to secure the help of ABC, the team temporarily waived that requirement. “During this crisis our priority is making sure every child has the nourishment they need,” shares Melanie Rios, Director of Programs for Any Baby Can.
By utilizing their partnership with durable medical equipment (DME) provider Shield HealthCare, ABC has been able to provide relief to frantic parents. “The formula provided by ABC was a great alternative to provide for my daughter, who has problems with tolerating certain milks and formulas. It’s great to know there’s help out there with finding alternatives for our babies,” said Priscilla Segura, a mother assisted by Any Baby Can.
“It’s heartbreaking. We have parents calling us from all across Texas because no one else has been able to help,” said Elyse Bernal, President & CEO of Any Baby Can. “Once folks get wind that we have been able to maintain a steady supply of formula, they’re willing to drive hours for just one can.” Parents and caregivers have been coming in week after week, taking one to two cans of precious formula at a time, grateful to be able to feed their children. “I was in tears when I picked up my formula,” said Ali Mohammad, a Father helped by Any Baby Can. “You have no idea the feeling of relief that one container brought. Because of Any Baby Can, I was able to feed my child.”
“Parents and caregivers come in all different genders, ages, and economic backgrounds –this shortage affects everyone,” stated Dr. Adriana Rocha Garcia, District 4 Councilwoman. “Any Baby Can has really answered the call for anyone who cares for an infant.”
While some formula manufacturing has restarted, it could be many more weeks until it starts to show back up on store shelves. ABC is continuing to answer the call until that happens, thanks in large part to Shield and the generous donations of individuals and organizations. “We’re so thankful for Shield, who stepped up when no one else would answer our calls,” said Bernal, “but what’s been truly inspiring is how many community leaders and members have shared our information, our social media posts and donated funds to help us feed the need.”
As a gesture of their gratitude, Any Baby Can will be presenting Shield HealthCare with the Angel Award, presented at their Angel Affair annual gala in August. “How can you say ‘no’ to a child in need?” asked Kristen Sessums, Shield HealthCare Registered Dietitian who has been instrumental in ensuring each infant has received formula best suited to their individual needs. “I would have helped anyway, but to have the full support of Shield has been incredible.”
To request assistance from Any Baby Can, or to donate, visit their website.
Raising a child with special healthcare needs is difficult. Finding help shouldn’t be. Any Baby Can services are provided at no cost to families who have a childbirth through 17 years of age with ANY medical diagnosis, including a chronic illness, disability, developmental delay, or health risk.
Since 1957 Shield HealthCare has been an industry leader delivering brand-name products and excellent customer service, while providing tools and resources to educate and support caregivers and families with medical needs.