HENRICO COUNTY, Va. — Richmond Public Schools teacher Nikita Ford fulfilled a lifelong dream in 2021 when she opened Sweets by Keet bakery in Henrico’s West End.
“When I became a small business owner, the one thing I said I had to do was be a change. Be a light for many people,” Ford said.
Ford turned words into action recently when news spread about the ongoing baby formula shortage impacting the nation.
“How can I help? That was immediately what I thought. How can I help? What can I do?” she said.
Ford leaned on what she knew best, baking.
She began baking lactation cookies. Lactation cookies contain ingredients that help mothers produce breast milk.
“What makes these cookies so special is that they contain galactagogues, which are substances that promote lactation in humans and animals,” a Parenting.com article reported. “Brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, flaxseed meal, and whole oats in lactation cookies are what specifically help with a lactating mother’s milk supply.”
“One of the new mothers I actually went to college with reached out to me for lactation cookies,” Ford said. “I said with the formula shortage, I think this is something that I need to be able to give and do for everybody.”
Ford said her friend told her the cookies worked.
“She was ecstatic. She told me, ‘Keet these cookies are doing great and I went from pumping x amount of milk in two sessions to doubling that. The baby can’t even keep up,” Ford said.
Since then, Ford has helped news moms across Central Virginia and even shipping cookies to moms in other states.
“With inflation, everything is high right now. So for me, it was how can I give to the community without having them stressed about not only not having enough milk for their babies, not producing enough milk but how can they afford it, so I provided the lactation cookies at no charge for moms that came in,” Ford said. “I want mothers to know they can come here and get a baggie of three cookies for free and if they need more, let me know.”
Nikita Ford is one person trying to make a difference in the community by using sweet treats to give moms hope during a difficult time.
Ford does not stop with cookies. As a teacher, she is also passionate about donating backpacks and school supplies to students and she uses her platform to raise awareness about mental health issues.
Sweets by Keet is located at10821 West Broad Street in Glen Allen.