KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — While the ongoing baby formula shortage continues to hit families across the country, one group in Knoxville is trying to do its part to help. 

Kim Cantrell is no stranger to helping those in need. She runs Knoxville Pays It Forward and has been able to help those in the community for years. 

“I want to help individuals in this area who find themselves in a bind due to no fault of their own. We all get in that situation sometimes and during those times we need a handout,” Cantrell said.  

Her most recent endeavor has been a Facebook group for parents to swap and shop baby formula. 

“We normally have a good-sized formula bank but we gave a lot of it to the rescue at the Smoky Mountain fires recently. So, because of that we only had about seven cans, and as soon as we got this group started five cans were gone almost immediately,” Cantrell said.  

For parents struggling with the shortage, it has been a real game-changer. 

Megan Bean is a mother of five and she says she has never seen anything like this. Her youngest is just five weeks old and has an allergy to cow’s milk and to soy. So finding the right formula is already difficult without a shortage.  

“I just kind of just going to every Walgreens I know just to see if I maybe get lucky and when I do, I just try to grab as much as I can but also try to be frugal and leave enough for the next momma. Because it is very stressful,” Bean said.  

Bean recently joined the Knoxville Baby Formula Swap group on Facebook and has already gotten much-needed formula and been able to pay it forward herself. She gave out formula that didn’t work with her daughter’s allergy to another parent in need.  

“I’ve been able to help out other mommas with formula that I’ve had here that I don’t need,” Bean said. “So just knowing that there is, I guess you could say lifeline out there, knowing that there’s other mommas out there that are willing to help. And willing to help find formula and swap different cans that you need or they may need. It’s definitely a game-changer and it absolutely helps.” 

Cantrell said a little help can go a long way. 

“If we can do a little bit to make a difference if you want to help out then look for that baby formula and share it with everyone else,” Cantrell said. “Because if we all do a little bit, we can make a big difference.” 

While the Knoxville Baby Formula Swap group is giving out the formula for free, donations to help the next family will be accepted.