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NC diaper bank impacted by baby formula shortage and recent factory fire

The Diaper Bank of North Carolina has a warehouse in Winston-Salem. The recent shortage has them struggling with supply.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Families are desperate to feed their kids amid a nationwide baby formula shortage.

A local diaper bank was ready to help but it ran out of product. The short supply is not just because of the shortage but also because of a fire.

The Diaper Bank of North Carolina's Winston-Salem warehouse was among the places affected by the Weaver Fertilizer Plant fire back in February.

The diaper bank provides diapers for 3,000 babies in the Triad alone. Volunteers have been able to keep that work going but they're completely wiped out of formula.

"We have no formula, absolutely none," Founder and CEO Michelle Old said. "We have no way of purchasing formula. We buy in bulk and we’ve seen no donations come in because people cannot access that to purchase it to donate."

Old said the shortage comes in a tough year for the nonprofit. After their warehouse was damaged by the fire, all of their supplies had to be quarantined and tested.

Old said testing revealed all of the donations in the warehouse had been contaminated. They found out last week those supplies would have to be thrown out.

"We have lost all of that product, including formula. We are trying as best as we can to serve the Triad from the Durham community," Old said.

It means the diaper bank is purchasing more products than ever before. She said even after store shelves are restocked, many families will still need help.

"Through our research, we found 76 percent of families that are receiving our services work one to three jobs and still cannot afford the most basic needs for themselves and for their children," Old said. "It’s really important to know that the need for formula was here before the shortage."

Old said they'll start purchasing formula once shelves are restocked, so they can fill the 400 requests for formula they get a month.

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