Side effect of winter storm: breast milk donation shortage

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Indianapolis, IND. (Jan. 14, 2014)–

When last week’s winter storm crippled Central Indiana, people were forced to stay home, businesses closed, and mail deliveries slowed. That combination took its toll on area organizations that rely on donations.

The Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank is a non-profit group that collects and distributes real human breast milk to area neonatal intensive care units.

“We access excess breast milk from screened donors. We process it on site and then we provide it by hospital prescription or order to NICU babies in need,” said Carissa Hawkins with the Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank.

She said the supply of milk is dangerously low right now.

“Between the holidays and the polar vortex that changed our shipping times in the past week, we probably only have about two days’ worth of milk, so we are in desperate need of donations,” Hawkins said.

The bank covers the cost of screening and shipping the breast milk. Woman who are currently nursing are encouraged to donate 100 ounces of breast milk before their child’s first birthday.

People who can’t donate breast milk can make financial donations to help the organization.

Indiana Blood Center also took a hard hit during the winter storm. The storm caused the cancellation of several mobile blood drives which typically account for 60% of daily donations. Indiana Blood Center locations were back to normal hours and operations by Thursday of last week and had a lot of making up to do.

Indiana Blood Center Corporate Communications Specialist Lucy Wehking said the faithful Hoosier donor base helped pull through, bringing in 800 donations on Friday and 500 donations Saturday.

She said the supply is restored, but without knowing what the winter has in store, everyone who can give is encouraged to do so. January is also National Blood Donor Month.

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