Nurse and mom Katherine Quirk started a Facebook group to help families during the baby formula shortage.
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.
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.
This article originally appeared on 08.20.17
Lynelle Cantwell is in 12th grade at Holy Trinity High School in Torbay, Newfoundland and Labrador (that's Canada). On Monday, she found out that she had been featured on another student's anonymous online poll entitled "Ugly Girls in Grade 12," along with several other classmates.
Cantwell responded via Facebook with her own message, which has already been shared more than 2,000 times and counting.
Take a look:
Since posting her brave response on Facebook, more people have come out to show support than people who voted in the first place.
Check out some of the responses:
The School District of Newfoundland and Labrador has announced that it will be looking into the incident further. For Cantwell, the positive outpouring of love and support vastly outweighs the initial cyberbullying and is raising her confidence in new ways.
Retired Major General Paul Eaton shared his thoughts on whether the AR-15 is a "weapon of war."
A common criticism gun rights activists levy toward gun legislation advocates is that many people who push for stricter gun laws don’t know a lot about guns themselves. That’s not wholly accurate—there are plenty of gun enthusiasts who support reasonable gun laws—but it’s true that many people who are horrified by our nation’s gun culture are not well-versed on the specifications of our nation’s 393 million guns.
Not every American is an active part of American “gun culture." Some of us have never shot a firearm, for fun or otherwise. Some of us really are ignorant about guns themselves.
That can’t be said for anyone in the military, however. And it definitely can’t be said for a former Major General of the U.S. Army.
“As the former Commanding General of the Infantry Center at Fort Benning and Chief of Infantry, I know a bit about weapons. Let me state unequivocally — For all intents and purposes, the AR-15 and rifles like it are weapons of war. A thread:
Those opposed to assault weapon bans continue to play games with AR-15 semantics, pretending there’s some meaningful differences between it and the M4 carbine that the military carries. There really aren’t.
The military began a transition from the M16 to the M4, an improved M16, some years ago. The AR-15 is essentially the civilian version of the M16. The M4 is really close to the M16, and the AR-15.
So what’s the difference between the military’s M4 and the original AR-15? Barrel length and the ability to shoot three round bursts. M4s can shoot in three round bursts. AR-15s can only shoot a single shot.
But even now, you can buy AR-15s in variable barrel lengths with Weaver or Picatinny rails for better sights and aiming assists like lasers. Like the military, but w/o the bayonet.
But our troops usually use single shot, not burst fire. You’re able to fire a much more accurate (deadly) shot, that way. Note: you can buy our Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight on Amazon. So troops usually select the same fire option available on AR-15.
That is why the AR-15 is ACCURATELY CALLED a ‘weapon of war.’ It is a very deadly weapon with the same basic functionality that our troops use to kill the enemy. Don’t take the bait when anti-gun-safety folks argue about it. They know it’s true. Now you do too."
Eaton is not the only former military leader who has spoken out in support of gun legislation. In 2019, a group of 13 influential retired military leaders wrote a letter to Congress, pushing it to pass the Bipartisan Background Check Act.
"Each of us has, at some point in our lives, made the choice to risk our lives for our fellow citizens and place ourselves in harm’s way," they wrote. "We were trained, we were coached, and we were prepared for the dangers that we chose to face. This is not the case for most Americans, yet they continue to face danger on the sidewalk, in their homes, at school, and at work. It is in the same spirit that led us to serve in the armed forces that we ask you, our elected leaders, to help protect the American people from gun violence here at home. We urge you to support this legislation."
Police leaders have also voiced strong support for gun legislation, which makes sense considering how much harder and more dangerous our free-for-all gun culture makes their jobs. The International Association of Chiefs of Police, the largest professional association of police leaders in the world, has a position paper that outlines the gun safety laws it supports, including firearm offender registration, waiting periods, closing the gun show loophole, banning semiautomatic assault weapons, armor-piercing ammunition, bulletproof body armor and more. The IACP states that these are “common sense policies that would assist in reducing gun violence, while upholding the second amendment.”
Yep, the largest police leader association supports banning semiautomatic assault weapons like the AR-15. Here’s what it has to say about that:
“First passed in 1994, the assault weapons ban required domestic gun manufacturers to stop production of semi-automatic assault weapons and ammunition magazines holding more than ten rounds except for military or police use. While the ban was in place, it was remarkably effective in reducing the number of crimes involving assault weapons. In the period of the ban, (1994-2004) the proportion of assault weapons traced to crimes fell by a dramatic 66 percent.”
If those who oppose gun legislation don’t want to listen to people who don’t know enough about guns to speak authoritatively on them, that's fine. Perhaps they should listen to these military and police leaders who not only know guns inside and out, but who also have the firsthand experience on both sides of the barrel to speak authoritatively on what can help minimize America’s gun violence.