With the ongoing baby formula shortage showing no signs of abating, District Taco is leading a charge to help parents across the country connect families with baby formula to feed their infant children at no cost. The chain has been delivering baby formula to the doorsteps of their community in need or shipping directly to them. The popular fast casual chain’s new #FormulaForAll campaign encourages restaurants across the country to leverage their existing distributor relationships to donate baby formula in their local communities.
Spearheaded by Melanie Koch, District Taco’s director of marketing, the campaign was inspired by similar action taken by Benji Arslanovski, owner of Our Place restaurants in Mansfield and Burleson, TX. A father of three young sons, Arslanovski knew firsthand the importance of proper infant nutrition. He initially purchased 56 cases of Gerber’s Gentle Pro infant formula from his distributor and gave them out for free at his two restaurant locations. He has since purchased additional cases, and plans to continue doing so until the baby formula returns to grocery shelves.
“I’m just trying to feed some babies,” says Arlsanovski. “The need is just tremendous, and if we can give parents another avenue to hold them over until supplies get here, we feel good about that. The message is ‘Help your neighbor.’”
The baby formula recipients are deeply appreciative. “This morning when I went to check the mail, I noticed I had received a package, and to my surprise it was a can of formula my son really needed,” said Kathryn F. “Little did we know that Enfamil AR would be impossible to find, and I spent the first week searching every grocery store, joining formula groups on Facebook, and asking for help from friends and family all over the country. In one of those Facebook groups was a link to District Taco and a page to sign up for a chance to receive a can of formula. I am so very grateful to have received a can, and thank you for helping us moms during this stressful time.”
For Koch, a new mom of a baby boy, this outreach initiative resonated on both a personal and professional level. “I reached out to Benji and let him know how inspiring his story was, particularly how great it was to give back to the community when that community had helped our restaurants survive during the pandemic. As restaurants, we’re in the unique position to order formula through our food distributors, which can make securing food easier.
“Since launching this initiative, we already have several amazing partners on board including Beyond Meat, HipCityVeg, 1799 Prime and Our Place,” adds Koch. “Our goal is to enlist as many restaurants as possible across the country to come together for this very worthwhile cause.”