+
History (Education)

How one mom is using Facebook to help hundreds of families find formula in South Florida

Katherine Quirk helped seniors find local vaccine appointments in 2021. When the formula shortage hit, she knew just how to help local families.

How one mom is using Facebook to help hundreds of families find formula in South Florida
Katherine Quirk

Nurse and mom Katherine Quirk started a Facebook group to help families during the baby formula shortage.

True

Nurse manager Katherine Quirk was following the news about the national baby formula shortage and growing more and more concerned. She saw stories of parents arriving at stores to find formula shelves empty. People with babies who have specific dietary restrictions unable to find the brand or formulation they need. Caregivers desperate to find formula to feed their babies. The U.S. formula shortage has grown into a full-blown, genuine crisis.

It’s been more than a decade since the mom of three fed babies of her own, but the magnitude of the problem hit her, both from the news and in Quirk’s personal circle.

“I’m in many local ‘mom’ Facebook groups and I saw post after post about the need for formula and the lack of availability,” Quirk tells Upworthy. She decided she wanted to do something to help.

In early 2021, Quirk and her husband had organized a Facebook group that helped thousands of senior citizens find COVID-19 vaccine appointments in the Parkland, Florida area, so she knew social media could be a powerful tool to crowdsource information and get it out to a community.


She searched for formula-finding groups on Facebook, but most were very large and she didn’t find any specific to her area. So she decided to start the South Florida Baby Formula Info Group on May 4, 2022, to help local parents and caregivers find formula locally.

“I wanted to provide a group, a kind of one-stop shop, where formula could be given to individuals who needed it, as well as providing information about local stores and online availability,” she says. “Facebook was the best choice as the group allows a consolidation of information as well as a platform to get information out quickly to the public.”

Quirk says the blueprint from their COVID-19 vaccine group had worked really well, so she basically just replicated it. The formula-finding group has now grown to more than 800 members who share specific formula needs and local resources. Quirk says the group has been a positive, helpful and resourceful tool during a time when families are experiencing enormous stress.

“The overall vibe is very positive,” she says. “Moms helping other moms. Caregivers lending a hand and offering up unused formula to a mom who has a need. Exchanges happening between parents if perhaps a sample was received that is not needed.”

She says community members will walk into a store and share a photo of baby formula availability to help the parents who can’t drive all over South Florida to find what they need.

baby formula, Facebook People use the South Florida Baby Formula Info Group to help parents and caregivers find local formula supplies. Katherine Quirk/Facebook

“We have individuals in the group who are very skilled at checking online availability and alerting when baby formula becomes in stock online,” she says. The group also has people who “keep a protective eye on the community.”

Quirk says anyone can start a similar Facebook group for their local area, for formula-finding or any need that arises in a community.

“If you see a need in your community for it, start it,” she says. “When the community needs help, there is no better place than social media. Start a group, share it with those you know, ask your friends to share, share in other groups if it’s an option.”

“It takes some time and effort to monitor and grow a Facebook group,” says Quirk, but she manages it as a mom with a career. “If it helps even one person then it’s worth it,” she says.

“Look at your community, see where the need is and help in any way possible,” says Quirk. ”Keep things positive, keep politics out and focus on what’s important: your mission and goal.”

Here’s to people helping people in times of need, and to the tools and platforms that make such support possible.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


Addie Rodriguez was supposed to take the field with her dad during a high school football game, where he, along with other dads, would lift her onto his shoulders for a routine. But Addie's dad was halfway across the country, unable to make the event.

Her father is Abel Rodriguez, a veteran airman who, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family in San Antonio at the time.

"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

Keep ReadingShow less

Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

Keep ReadingShow less