How Northwest Harvest supports babies and children

According to Northwest Harvest, one in six children in Washington lives in a family that faces challenges keeping enough food on the table.

SEATTLE — It’s been about nine months since the nationwide infant formula crisis began, but families in Washington state are still feeling the impact.

Living in Cowlitz County, Nicole Curtis said she has few grocery shopping options and knows well the struggle to find infant formula.

Curtis is a community advocate for the Northwest Harvest Foundation, with which KING 5 has partnered to raise meal funds for vulnerable populations across Washington, including infants and young children.

When Curtis brings her son Kaius home, she hopes to breastfeed him for at least a year like her age did with her now 9-year-old son Julien.

Curtis said: ‘I didn’t realize he wasn’t getting enough milk from me and I was really upset because in the hospital he seemed fine. “It made me feel like a failed mother who couldn’t breastfeed her baby.”

Switching to infant formula isn’t easy because Kaius, or “Kai,” comes out four months after a nationwide formula recall.

Infant formula maker Abbott recalled some products and stopped production after bacteria were found at a Michigan facility. A month before Kai was born, more than 40% of the US baby formula supply was out of stock.

“I’m in dire need,” Curtis said.

Curtis said she turned to her pediatrician for help. She has connected with local youth and family services. In her position at Northwest Harvest, she knows how food insecurity affects children across the state.

According to Northwest Harvest, one in six children in Washington lives in a family that faces challenges keeping enough food on the table.

“We’re talking about the most vulnerable people in your family,” said Christina Wong, Northwest Harvest’s director of public policy and advocacy.

Wong said families may have had to go to some stores to find infant formula, but efforts like Home Team Harvest have helped fund Safeway gift cards, which act like cash and help compensate. cover transportation costs for families in need.

“Mothers who needed specific formula because of their baby’s dietary needs, drove up to 15, 20 miles one way to get to the store,” says Wong.

Mothers like Curtis go even further.

“There are times when I have to get out of that area for an hour or two to get to areas like Portland or Vancouver,” says Curtis. “Our local retailers here in Cowlitz County have struggled to keep our formulas in stock.”

Northwest Harvest also faces challenges in keeping its store shelves stocked with formula. Curtis and Wong both encourage families to stay connected with other community partners in the formula search process.

“Stay in touch with your pediatrician and try to network across social media, platforms, and groups,” says Curtis. “I had Kai at a very important time. I had to figure that out.”

Help KING 5 raise 21 million meals for Home Team Harvest

KING 5’s annual Family Group Harvest campaign to benefit Northwest Harvest is underway. The goal this year is to raise 21 million meals.

  • Online at
  • Text “HOMETEAM” to 41444
  • Starting November 1, visit your local Safeway or Albertson’s for $5, $10, or $12 off a grocery card.

Watch the Home team’s Harvest special broadcast on December 3 at 10am on KING 5, and the KING 5 mobile app. How Northwest Harvest supports babies and children

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