Hayat Pharmacy hosts giveaway of baby formula, other supplies

Capri Communities, Milwaukee Diaper Mission assist with drive-thru event

Kim Irwin, senior director of marketing at Capri Communities, gives a parent a can of Similac formula.

Last updated on June 16th, 2022 at 12:56 pm

Parents know that right now, it’s take what you can get when it comes to baby formula. To address the ongoing shortage of baby formula affecting families, several local organizations hosted a giveaway of baby products in Milwaukee on Tuesday, including 1,000 cans of formula.

Tuesday’s event was hosted at Hayat Pharmacy, at its location at 807. W. Layton Ave., with the help of the Milwaukee Diaper Mission and Waukesha-based Capri Communities, a developer of senior living communities.

Tamir Kaloti, president of Hayat Pharmacy, said he and his team have spent hours every day for weeks contacting vendors and wholesalers, sometimes multiple times a day, to see if they had any baby formula product in stock. It took Hayat Pharmacy almost a month to collect the 1,000 cans available at Tuesday’s event.

“I myself am a new father, so my wife and I have been experiencing the same anxiety and nervousness about the ability to feed our son,” said Kaloti. “At Hayat, we’re not in the baby formula business, Capri Communities is not in the baby formula business, Ald. (Marina) Dimitrijevic obviously is not, the (Milwaukee) Diaper Mission is not, but we all felt a need and an obligation to do our part.”

He said the importance of being locally and family-owned is that Hayat Pharmacy can help their customers and the community at large with problems that might not normally be within the organization’s purview.

“People know Hayat Pharmacy as a resource in a time of need even if it’s not anything we normally focus on, they still come to us and they say, ‘Can you help us with this?’” said Kaloti.

Ald. Marina Dimitrijevic was the main organizer behind the event, approaching Hayat Pharmacy and the other organizations involved to take part in the giveaway.

Monica Dess, a parent who took advantage of Tuesday’s giveaway, said she – like most parents these days – has become accustomed to bare shelves in the formula aisle. She’s had to change brands multiple times already to make sure her son is fed.

“We saw this event on the news last night and thought it was amazing. It’s such a generous thing for someone to do,” Dess said.

The national shortage of baby formula was caused largely by the February shutdown of Abbott Laboratories formula factory in Sturgis, Michigan, the largest baby formula factory in the country. The plant was shut down by the company voluntarily after FDA inspectors found cronobacter bacteria inside the plant. The plant finally resumed production earlier this month. A small number of companies in the U.S. manufacture formula in a small number of plants, so one plant being shut down has had a dramatic impact on supply of the product on the market.

The baby formula shortage has also been blamed on tariffs and FDA regulations that significantly limit the amount of baby formula imported into the United States.

Capri Communities is among the other businesses that assisted with Tuesday’s giveaway. The organization was only looped into the project a few days ago but Amy Fouts, regional director of operations at Capri Communities, said they jumped at the opportunity.

“It’s something that I think impacts a lot of our care staff in regard to finding formula, finding diapers, even finding childcare. It all impacts their ability (to focus in work) so anything we can do to help support that is really important to us as an organization,” she said.

Kim Irwin, senior director of marketing at Capri Communities, said taking part in Tuesday’s event ties into their overall mission of bettering the communities where they have their assisted living communities and helping everyone enjoy a better quality of life.

“We love the spontaneity and being able to address real world problems and needs,” Irwin said. “Obviously with a baby formula shortage, it’s causing a lot of people angst right now. It was a way for us to give back.”

Ashley covers startups, technology and manufacturing for BizTimes. She was previously the managing editor of the News Graphic and Washington County Daily News. In past reporting roles, covering education at The Waukesha Freeman, she received several WNA awards. She is a UWM graduate. In her free time, Ashley enjoys watching independent films, tackling a new recipe in the kitchen and reading a good book.

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