Iowa native Shawn Johnson helps moms share formula


Olympic gold medalist, champion gymnast, ‘Dancing of the Stars’ winner and mom, Shawn Johnson East wants to make sure moms in need of formula go online. The West Des Moines native announced a new website she created with her husband Andrew East to help mothers who need formula and those who have formula to share get in touch.

Parents across the country are struggling to locate formula during this shortage, which only worsened in recent weeks when Abbott Nutrition’s manufacturing facility temporarily closed in Sturgis, Michigan. The shutdown came after a voluntary recall of three types of infant formula after four babies fell ill with bacterial infections after consuming the products, according to USA Today.

In late April, Iowa reported shortages of more than 50%, one of the highest rates in the nation.

After:Iowa families scour stores for formula: ‘There’s nothing you can do but keep looking’

Johnson East – who won gold on balance beam and silver for team, all-around and floor exercise at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing – launched the Baby Formula Exchange website with her husband via a announcement on his Instagram page.

She personally struggled to find formula for her 10-month-old son, Jett.

“So last week I was trying to fill out Jett’s formula and couldn’t find it anywhere,” Johnson said. “A friend of a friend actually connected me with her friend in Pittsburgh and she was able to find her and ship her to me,” she said on Instagram. This exchange inspired the sharing site.

After:Shortage of infant formula worsens: about 40% of popular brands sold in the United States

The program is free and easy to use. Mothers looking for infant formula can post the type they need. Moms with an unopened extra formula that hasn’t expired can post what they have and if they’re willing to ship it for free. Both parties can then connect.

Johnson East gave birth to Jett James East last July. He joined his 2-year-old sister Drew.

After:Shawn Johnson East reveals baby boy’s name: ‘We’re still over the moon’

Susan Stapleton is entertainment editor at the Des Moines Register. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter or email him at [email protected]

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