Donors, Donations and Those Friendly Neighbourhood Hospitals
Any mother that passes a rigorous screening process, a health history, and a blood test can donate as much breast milk as she wishes. The screening process is rigorous because it has to be. Safety, for both the mother and the child, are of the utmost importance. A donation cannot be accepted unless it can be verified to be free of disease or infection. For places such as Northern Star Mothers Milk Bank in Calgary, who already have a system in place that functions at an extremely high and professional level, this process is just a basic operating procedure.
For Eileen Chen, however, the necessary resources to operate at a similar level are still out of reach.
“I don’t have the resources at my disposal to operate a breast milk bank at the necessary level. We invested twenty-thousand dollars of our savings to get Breast Milk Angels Association off the ground, another seven thousand to set up an Appreciation Diner in an effort to spread the word and get people involved, as well as several thousand dollars (not sure of the exact amount) for printed materials such as invitations, banners and cards. But I can’t afford the pasteurization machine and I’m still waiting on the application process for our Registered Charity Number.”
“Right now, I cannot accept monetary donations. I must speak with the local church to set-up monetary donations for our organization, where someone who wants to donate money needs to send donations to the church and the church can then issue us a receipt for tax purposes. They cannot donate to me personally because we are still waiting for our Registered Charity Number.
“Without financial supporters, it has been extremely difficult to do anything to further our cause. I cannot push this any further than my resources will allow as Breast Milk Angel Association is a not-for-profit but even not-for-profits cannot function without resources. So, we work on a cost recovery model, which basically recovers the costs of a given expense, such as the start-up costs for a business.”
If more people were made aware of the options that exist for breast milk donations, Eileen believes she would have a much better chance of establishing connections and gain the necessary financial support to propel Breast Milk Angels Association to the next level. Local hospitals, she says, can play a very important and vital role.
“We can find a lot of people and patients simply through the hospital. That’s where new mothers give birth, after all. And the hospital has a huge impact in terms of breast milk a donations because they are the leading authority when it comes to our health. They are the leading professionals in their field and if they make their patients aware of the options that exist when it comes to donations that make a huge difference. They can easily contact new mother’s and speak with them about donating excess breast milk to my organization or the donor program already in place.”