Officials in hard-hit Santa Clara County said the region's biggest needs right now, especially for single moms, include formula and diapers. Some of the most expensive items needed to care for newborns.
RELATED: San Francisco man serves free coffee to essential workers from home window
Pandemic panic buying has left some store shelves barren. ABC7 News has reported on people clearing shelves of toilet paper, hand-sanitizer and other supplies.
In this situation, we're learning what others have hoarded can impact the health of infants. Especially those who were recently born into low-income communities.
"There is a lot of need for baby formula and diapers," Ayesha Charagulla said. "These families have lost a significant income, or lost their jobs due to this outbreak."
#TONIGHT Pandemic panic buying has left some store shelves barren.— Amanda del Castillo (@AmandaABC7) April 14, 2020
We’re learning what others are hoarding can ultimately impact the health of infants— Especially those recently born into low-income communities.
Something to think about.
Story at 11p. #abc7now pic.twitter.com/RKmXb93onZ
Charagulla is the president and CEO of Empower & Excel.
She explained, after speaking with a Santa Clara County official, her organization put out calls to local pediatricians.
Her son Nihaar Charagulla is leading the youth effort to collect formula and funds for those families.
"Overall, we've been able to collect 200 cans of baby formula and we just started like a week ago," he said. "As well as $500 worth of donations."
RELATED: Rare partnership between Apple and Google will bring COVID-19 contact tracing app to users
Ayesha Charagulla added, "Based on that calculation, we can give away two cans per family. At least, they can live up for two months happily without worrying what to feed their babies."
Charmayne Moran with the Santa Clara County Probation Department explained the donations will go to 75 women across East San Jose.
"Some of the families that live there are obviously families who have a lot of need," she described. "Who don't have resources to go out and buy formula and diapers especially during COVID-19."
Moran said those being served aren't already getting assistance from the county.
"Particularly those individuals who are less connected to services. So, families who are hard to reach, or families who are not involved in the child welfare system," she said. "Or who are not accessing services through the FRC because the county is in collaboration with First Five and with other county departments."
Moran said the donations will be handed out at an upcoming scheduled food distribution.
RELATED: Silicon Valley group aims to give computer, internet access for students learning from home
"There's a large amount of single moms with more than two children in the household. So, we know that there's a need," she said.
If you're interested in learning more about the community receiving the donations, click here.
Dr. Baraka Floyd is an outpatient general pediatrician at Stanford Children's Hospital. Her focus is serving the mid-Peninsula's low-income population.
"For low-income families, being able to afford formula at all can be challenging. Which is why services like WIC are so important," she said.
However, COVID-19 isn't making it easy.
"What we're finding is for a lot of families, they are having to physically go to the store, find that there's no formula. Then they have to contact the store manager, or contact the store to find out when there will be formula," she explained. "And then try to time going back out in the context of having a newborn, an additional person in your family, other children you might be dealing with. And then also having to deal with all of the worries and stress that we're all feeling right now."
Additionally, Floyd said, "Because of panic buying and things of that nature, there's not enough formula for those who need it."
RELATED: Coronavirus: Bay Area family finds relief through social media movement 'RV's 4 MDs'
Pediatricians told ABC7 News some mothers are getting desperate, and are turning to dairy or diluting. Both measures can be dangerous.
Dr. Pronoti Nigam with Evergreen Pediatrics Inc. in San Jose said, "Cow milk can cause microscopic bleeding and anemia. So, we don't recommend it before the first birthday."
Diluting formula means that instead of mixing the formula per the manufacturer's instructions, some mothers are trying to ration their supply.
So, they're adding more water to the powder.
Dr. Floyd explained why that could harm the baby.
"One, it obviously decreases the amount of nutrition that your baby's getting that they need to grow. And really, their only job in the first few months is to grow," she said. "The other part that's actually really dangerous, is for young babies especially, their young bodies don't handle water in the same way that you or I do."
For now, Empower & Excel continues to partner with others in the community, collecting baby formula for families struggling during COVID-19.
For more information on this effort, visit the nonprofit organization's website here.
If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here
RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
- Live updates about coronavirus outbreak in US,around the world
- Coronavirus data: See how the curve of COVID-19 cases is bending in each Bay Area county
- Everything you need to know about the Bay Area's shelter-in-place order
- Coronavirus Doctor's Note: Dr. Alok Patel gives his insight into COVID-19 pandemic
- Stimulus calculator: How much money should you expect from coronavirus relief bill
- WATCH: ABC7's interactive town hall 'Race and Coronavirus: A Bay Area Conversation'
- What Bay Area tenants need to know about rent payments, eviction amid COVID-19 outbreak
- Here's how shelter in place, stay at home orders can slow spread of COVID-19
- Coronavirus Timeline: Tracking major moments of COVID-19 pandemic in San Francisco Bay Area/
- Coronavirus and the new normal of livingin the San Francisco-Bay Area -- COVID-19 Diaries
- Happy hour goes virtual as people try to be sociable while social distancing during COVID-19 crisis
- Coronavirus Outbreak: Here's why you should practice 'social distancing'
- DRONEVIEW7: What the Bay Area looks like during the coronavirus shelter-in-place
- ABC7's drive around San Francisco shows empty streets, businesses shuttered
- Symptoms, prevention, and how to prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak in the US
- List of stores, companies closing due to coronavirus pandemic
- Canceled late fees, free services available amid COVID-19 crisis
- Here's how you can help during COVID-19 pandemic
- How to maintain learning during school closures
- No masks but here are 100+ products that may help protect you against novel coronavirus germs
- Here's a look at some of history's worst pandemics that have killed millions
- Asian community fighting racism, xenophobia, bigotry as world fights COVID-19