(Photo: Sue Levy)
By Raechel Hackney.
While providing donor human milk to premature and fragile infants is our milk bank’s primary mission, supporting and promoting donor milk research is also part of what we do.
Currently, we are collecting milk for a company in Israel that is comparing the nutrient content of raw milk with milk that is pasteurized. Only milk that could not otherwise be used for infants, such as milk that is either deferred for certain medications or has expired, is used for this purpose.
In order to pursue this project, a great deal of work needed to be done at our end, including entering donor information from our files onto a spreadsheet. This is where one of our newest volunteers, Sue Levy, comes in. As Lab Manager Lynn reports, “Sue has been a huge help!”
Recently retired, Sue was seeking volunteer opportunities “that would be worthwhile and engage [her] interest.” Having worked as a librarian, this type of careful data collection and attention to detail made her a perfect match for the work that needed to be done.
Our volunteers come to us from a number of sources, and as it happened, Sue learned about the milk bank from members of her exercise group. When she first visited us and spoke with Naomi Bar-Yam, she felt this would be a good opportunity for her. In her own words she tells us, “Your organization is a wonderful combination of service and science, with a mission that I find practical, altruistic, poignant, and so obviously needed within this regional community.”
Having volunteered here for over six months now, Sue reports, “It’s been a pleasure to get to know the people who organize and run this milk bank so efficiently and productively, and who so warmly engage new mothers in the joy of breastfeeding and the value of donating their breastmilk to others in need.”
Indeed, for us it’s been a pleasure getting to know and work with Sue. Without the dedication of volunteers like Sue, we would not be able to provide the service we do to infants in need in over 80 hospitals across 13 states while also helping advance scientific knowledge of human milk internationally. Thank you, Sue!