Two members of Selah Christian Women’s Fellowship Ministry were looking for a way to give back in their community. Nicole Biggerstaff-Vazquez and Cynthia Ellis organized a month-long walk to promote heart health and encourage their members to be active, even though they couldn’t be together in person.
Nicole and Cynthia knew they wanted to use this event as an opportunity to raise awareness about local nonprofits supporting women and infants. After learning about The Milk Bank from a news article, they chose The Milk Bank as their philanthropy partner and shared the mission with friends, family and coworkers and requested donations during their walk.
Selah’s walkers shared stories and images on social media, hosted a Lunch & Learn with Freedom Kolb, Executive Director of The Milk Bank, and plan to attend a tour soon.
While walking together (virtually!) & improving their heart health, they raised donations for our medical relief fund. Tre’ Medical Relief Fund provides medical relief to outpatient families because The Milk Bank believes the ability to pay should never dictate health outcomes.
Tre’s Medical Relief Fund is made possible through the support of donors like Selah Christian Women’s Fellowship Ministry. In 2020, Tre’s Medical Relief Fund covered the processing fees for over 22,920 ounces of milk (totaling over $100,000). Most importantly, no one who applied for medical relief during 2020 was turned away.
To cover the many safety measures in place at The Milk Bank, it costs $4.50 to process one ounce of donor milk. We receive donations of extra breast milk from carefully screened donors who undergo a blood test at our expense. We also screen, nutritionally analyze, pasteurize, and conduct microbiological testing on the donor milk before it is dispensed.
Nicole and Cynthia set a goal to raise $300 during their walk. By the end, Selah Christian Women’s Fellowship Ministry raised $1,625!
At The Milk Bank, every ounce counts. For a fragile baby, one ounce of pasteurized donor human milk provides up to three feedings and provides the antibodies, nutrition and immunities that protect against devastating infections like necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and can shorten NICU stays.
For some of Selah’s walkers, protecting infant lives was personal. Cynthia Ellis, who helped arrange the walk-a-thon, shared that the mission was important to her because she had been personally affected by infant loss. She shared a sweet picture and told us a bit about her daughter, Miracle.
“The teddy bear I got from the ultrasound visit still plays Miracle’ heartbeat; the pink card is from the hospital while she was in NICU; the baby laying in the angel wings was from my best friend who would have been her God-mother.”
Thanks to Selah’s gift, The Milk Bank can provide over 1,080 feedings for fragile infants. We’re so grateful for the support from community partners like Selah Christian Women’s Fellowship Ministry and advocates like Nicole and Cynthia. We all have a role to play in helping more infants celebrate their first birthday. Will you join us?
If you would like to choose The Milk Bank as your philanthropy partner, check out our Partner Toolkit under “Community Connections”.