Laura Seitz, Deseret News
Director Susan McGray stands near sparse supplies in the Midvale nursery. Baby formula is especially needed.

MIDVALE — The Family Support Center's three crisis nurseries are facing an emergency of their own. They're in dire need of baby formula and larger-sized diapers.

The crisis nurseries are a safe haven for children 11 and younger. Kids find themselves there for many reasons. The littlest clients may be homeless or in danger of being abused. Some are there briefly while mom or dad goes to court or attends an Alcoholics Anonymous class. It is also the place where police take the occasional small child found wandering alone while they search for the parents. An overwrought parent in need of a stress break or faced with a family emergency may drop a child off temporarily. A parent can even schedule some respite care, as long as it is done in advance.

A child can be left at the nursery for anywhere from 15 minutes to three days. Once there, care is provided by trained volunteers and foster grandparents.

Running completely out of formula and some larger diapers is a first for the centers, said Susan McGray, who directs the crisis nursery program. A generous community has always kept those particular items in stock. But when a homeless couple called late last week asking for help, staff discovered they had no formula on hand. And calls to the sister crisis nurseries in West Valley and Sugar House yielded the same results.

"We go through a lot of formula. A lot," said McGray, but she said how much and how often varies. They might not get a request for a couple of weeks — or they might have three in one day.

People typically provide baby-sized diapers, but the population the centers serve includes families who may have larger children who are physically or mentally delayed and need sizes 4, 5 and 6 as well. "Those are something most people don't think about when donating," she said.

They're looking for donations of any and every kind of baby formula, from "soy to normal to Similac," she said.

Besides needing the supplies to take care of the children placed in their care, McGray said they are a resource for families in the community who perhaps run out of funds or supplies themselves and need a stop-gap until the next payday or for the "occasional homeless family."

How to help

Formula and diapers can be dropped at any Family Support Center Crisis Nursery: 2020 S. Lake St. (740 East), Salt Lake City; 3663 S. 3600 West, West Valley City; or 777 W. Center St. (7720 South), Midvale.

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