Local trucking company offers to retrieve baby formula to Alabama from other states

Published 11:00 am Thursday, May 19, 2022

When Jeremy Colley, owner of Valley-based trucking business JC Colley LLC, found out about the national baby formula shortage, he decided to do something about it. He recently informed Rep. Debbie Wood of Alabama District 38 that he was willing to have his business get formula from elsewhere in the country and bring it to Alabama. On Tuesday, Wood announced she had notified Gov. Kay Ivey of Colley’s offer.

“I didn’t know if there was an immediate shortage here, yet,” he said. “I just felt like, ‘I don’t want there to be a shortage here.’ So, I offered up a free truck, free trailer, free fuel, free driver. I offered that to go and get it wherever it was in the United States.”

One driver has offered to drive for free, he said.

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Originally, Colley’s plans were to supply baby formula in Chambers County, but he said his business might serve other Alabama communities.

“We don’t want to see any babies go hungry and not get what they need,” he said.

Colley said that ideally, his business would get it from a formula manufacturer.

This project is so new that Colley’s business hasn’t gone out to get formula yet.

“We’re waiting to see if the state can find a place to go and get an entire trailer full of formula,” he said. “I don’t want to go out here locally and buy any and cause any further shortages when they could just go to the store to get it, if the store has it.”

Colley also said the State of Alabama would decide whether to give the formula away for free or charge money for it. He is hoping it will choose a good, central place to park a trailer full of formula, either in Chambers County or elsewhere.

On Wednesday, Wood said Ivey hadn’t responded yet. She said she was “blown away” by Colley’s generosity, especially since it would cost him a lot of money.

“We have families that are scared,” she said. “We have families that want their babies to have nutrition. And not every mother can nurse. There are medical issues, there are other issues. Working mothers. It’s very difficult. So, we need to ensure that our babies have the best.”

Wood said several people from District 38 have said they’re having a very hard time finding “rarer” forms of formula for babies with special needs.

“I don’t ever want to get the call at 9 p.m. or 12 p.m. midnight, ‘My baby has no formula. Why haven’t you helped us?’” she said. “We’re trying to do everything we can to find it.”

The national baby formula shortage is thought to be caused by a recall by a major baby formula manufacturer, persistent supply-chain issues and a baby formula market dominated by only a few companies. Abbot Nutrition recently recalled three popular formulas — Similac, Alimentum and EleCare — after a few babies became sick with bacterial infections.

Doctors warn that making homemade formula substitutes is dangerous because they don’t mimic human breastmilk as well as commercial baby formulas and aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.