RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Richmond’s City Council will consider a proposal to pay for prepaid debit cards worth $125 for eligible households with infants who rely on baby formula.
The ordinance, which will be considered during a May 31 special meeting, comes amid a nationwide formula shortage. The plan will allow the city to execute a grant contract with Urban Baby Beginnings so the nonprofit can buy and provide the cards to families.
Eligible households must prove participation in the government assistance program known as WIC — the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children — which provides benefits to millions of people each month.
According to the city’s proposal, eligible households can also participate in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program or provide “self-attestation of low-income status.”
“In Richmond, pediatricians are reporting that they are overwhelmed by calls from families of infants who have been to over 10 stores without finding formula and are resorting to unsafe alternatives like Carnation Infant Breakfast and Karo syrup,” the city’s proposal states.
The Robins Foundation has committed $20,000 and the city would divert $25,000 from Richmond’s Office of Community Wealth-Building’s general fund to pay for the plan, according to the plan. Private funders have also discussed joining the effort.
“Urban Baby Beginnings, which operates the Capital Region Diaper Bank, has reported parents showing up at their door with screaming, hungry babies in arms,” the proposal continues.
Families can only receive one card under the proposal. The ordinance also calls for the plan to become effective once the city council adopts the ordinance.
The bill’s patrons include Mayor Levar Stoney, Council President Cynthia Newbille, and council members Michael Jones and Ann-Frances Lambert.