Baby formula headed to Lancaster for free distribution after massive shipment sent from Europe

LANCASTER, Calif. (KABC) -- Part of a massive shipment of baby formula sent from Europe is headed to Lancaster for free distribution to families in need.

The U.S. Air Force packed up more than 100,000 pounds of formula in Germany that was set to arrive in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

Cargo planes loaded with pallets of formula from Switzerland landed in Indianapolis on Tuesday as part of the Biden administration's "Operation Fly Formula."

"I mean, just the thought of babies not getting formula -- that's pretty horrendous," Lancaster Mayor Rex Parris said in an interview with ABC7.

The city of Lancaster and Los Angeles County have partnered with the nonprofit Baby2Baby to purchase $100,000 worth of formula to distribute to Lancaster parents who desperately need it.

"That's just the initial installment," Parris said. "I want to see what the demand is, how fast it goes. And if it starts to deplete, we'll get more."

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Baby2Baby is a national, L.A.-based organization that provides essential items to children living in poverty.

There has been been a baby formula shortage for more than three months, after the largest infant formula manufacturer in the U.S. shut down operations due to potential contamination issues at the plant.

Parris said when he learned the shortage hit Lancaster, he put his staff to work trying to find more -- and it was tough. That is, he said, until he he contacted L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger.

"It was Kathryn Barger's office who contacted Baby2Baby and they knew exactly where to go," Parris said. "Once we made that connection, they didn't have any trouble."

Parris says residents who need the formula will be able to receive it for free.

"They just call the city and the city will have distribution ready to go," he said. "We may even distribute in Palmdale, depending on what need looks like."
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