This is a formula for relief.
A Texas restaurant owner is giving away free cans of baby formula to stressed-out parents struggling with a nationwide shortage of the manufactured food.
Benji Arslanovski, who owns Our Place in Mansfield, told Fox News on Friday that he used his connections with a supplier to ship 56 cases of Gerber Good Start formula to his eatery.
The innovative entrepreneur initially wanted to sell each can at cost price, but decided he wasn’t able to charge anxious moms and dads for the essential item.
“The first lady that came in was so happy to have a can, I just couldn’t charge her — and that just had a spiral effect,” Arslanovski said.
“I just couldn’t see myself charging anybody,” he heroically added. “I’m just trying to help feed some babies.”
Since the cases arrived at Our Place last week, Arslanovski has given away more than 300 cans of the coveted formula.
Gerber Good Start formula usually retails for around $20, meaning Arslanovski has given away approximately $6000 worth of the product.
Arslanovski says he’s happy with the fact he’s helped hundreds of parents, revealing they are incredibly anxious about the lack of supplies.
“They go to stores, there are empty shelves. So, if we can give them another avenue to hold them over until supplies get here, we feel good about that,” he said.
On Wednesday, President Joe Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to speed up US production of baby formula, with supplies plummeting more than 40% across the country in the past month.
The shortage largely stems from the February closure of a Michigan manufacturing plant after popular powder formulas produced there were linked to two baby deaths and several reported illnesses. Three brands of formula were recalled as a result.
However, the Biden administration has been condemned for dragging its feet and not acting sooner to get ahead of the shortage crisis.
Biden resisted using the Defense Production Act for a week amid mounting pressure from both Democrats and Republicans. Even Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg admitted he had been desperately hunting for formula to feed his young twins.
The Trump administration previously invoked the act — which allows federal interventions in private business decisions — to spur the manufacture of COVID-19 medical supplies in the early days of the pandemic.
But while relief may soon be on the way, consequences of the shortage are already dire.
Earlier this week, two Tennessee children with “specific dietary requirements” had to be hospitalized due to the lack of baby formula.
On Thursday, two shoppers in Massachusetts were recorded getting into a spat after one hoarder emptied out shelves of the product, putting dozens of cans of formula into her cart.