SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- For the past several weeks, Meaghan Shanahan and her girlfriend, Cara Rebernick, have spent day and night hunting for baby formula. Not because they have a child of their own, but instead to send it out to others desperately in need.
For weeks, a closure at a Michigan plant has caused a massive shortage nationwide -- something Shanahan and Rebernick weren't even aware of until coming across a Facebook post one day on their way to Costco.
During that Costco trip, the pair, who call Alameda home, were able to find some of the formula that people online were desperately searching for.
So, they decided to buy some and send it out.
It was a small gesture that would soon turn into a massive undertaking.
"There's a lot of bad things happening in the world right now that I can't personally do anything to fix. And this was so concrete. I can go to a store, I can buy a thing of formula, I can send it to a parent and that kid is fed," Shanahan said.
The pair says they've spent about $10,000 on everything from formula, to gas, to shipping costs.
So far, they've sent out 117 boxes to people in 28 different states.
And while they've gotten some of the money back, they say they'll never not send a case out to people who simply can't afford to pay.
"The things that we hear and we see are heartbreaking. Mothers reaching out saying they were concerned they were going to have to hospitalize their baby," said Rebernick.
One of the recipients was Bryanna Pero of Long Island, New York.
Speaking to ABC7 via zoom, Pero says with money tight and few options available, she was down to her last portion of formula for her 4-month-old daughter when she made contact with Shanahan.
"I remember my initial comment to her was saying she was our angel, because we are struggling with my daughter can only take a certain kind of formula," Pero said.
But, both Shanahan and Rebernick say, while they're determined to help as many people as they can nationwide, they also make sure not to negatively impact people here in the Bay Area.
"We won't take the last one from here because we have seen enough families and met enough people and talked to enough people that we want to protect anyone we can from that experience of an empty shelf," said Shanahan.
While the experience has been exhausting, the pair say it's also been rewarding.
That's why they plan on continuing their efforts until the formula shortage is finally over.
"It's really shown us that we have the capabilities and the resources to make a change. And I think moving forward we'll definitely continue in some, in some, fashion," said Rebernick.
If you would like to donate to help those in need, a GoFundMe link can be found here.
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