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June 18, 2015 | News

Foundation Invests in Florida’s First Milk Bank

The Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation has committed $50,000 to assist Mothers’ Milk Bank of Florida, Inc. to set up its statewide headquarters and processing laboratory for a human milk bank – the first of its kind in Florida, and one of only 15 in the U.S. The mission of Mothers’ Milk Bank is to promote health and healing by collecting, processing and distributing donor human milk by physician prescription to premature and ill, hospitalized infants whose mothers aren’t able to meet their needs.

Currently, donated milk is shipped to a milk bank in Colorado. When hospitals in Florida need milk, it is shipped overnight from that bank back to Florida. The Mothers’ Milk Bank of Florida will enable hospitals across the state to ship donor milk to and request milk from Orlando. Florida can also supply other states that do not have milk banks, including Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana.

“Having donor milk available will demonstrate the value of human milk, encourage mothers to breast feed, provide needed milk until the mother’s milk is available and improve the health of babies from infancy and beyond,” says Milk Bank Executive Director Karen Kesler.

“Helping to meet nutritional and medicinal needs is invaluable,” says Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation President David Odahowski, “but the economic impact is also significant. Donor human milk can help prevent disease that is not only life-threatening, but can increase the length of a pre-term baby’s hospital stay by several weeks, with an additional cost of $128,000 to $238,000. The milk bank will help Florida have healthier babies who leave the NICU sooner.” Odahowski recently toured the new facilities, located in the OneBlood building in Orlando.