Being a nonprofit milk bank, volunteers are at the heart and soul of our operation. We often talk about the generous mothers who donate their breast milk but it truly takes a village to make sure that human milk can be used as medicine for the neediest of babies. The milk must be properly tested, pasteurized, tested again, and distributed on an ongoing basis.
While processing work is done by professional lab staff, most HMBANA milk banks deploy the same volunteer corps that other nonprofits do for administrative tasks. These are people who deeply believe in the spirit of generosity and commit themselves to making it happen. Our newest volunteer, Midge Benjamin, exemplifies such a spirit.
Arriving early on Thursday mornings, Midge can be found helping out the donor intake team – from making blood kits, to gathering data, plus filing charts and forms. Her attention to detail and insightful suggestions make her an invaluable asset. Like many of our volunteers, Midge came to us through SOAR 55 Newton (Service Opportunities After Reaching 55), following her retirement two years ago.
As she says, “I did not even know about milk banking before meeting with Executive Director Naomi Bar-Yam. But when I understood its mission to help the most vulnerable, it seemed like a great fit for me.”
While her husband is a Newton native, Midge came to the Boston area for graduate school and the Benjamins have lived in Newton for the past 30 years. When she worked full time and her children were young, Midge still found time to volunteer at their schools. Milk bank staff especially found a kindred soul when they learned of her love for knitting, including voluntarily making blankets for ill children as part of Project Linus.
Her other interests include a love of baking, and while she makes sure her 17 cubit foot freezer is kept filled with cookies and yeast rolls that she gives to others, she also helps make sure our freezers filled with precious donor milk as a volunteer at the milk bank.
From blankets to cookies to human milk, thank you Midge, for your generous volunteerism!
Written by Donor Intake Coordinator Raechel Hackney.