Milk Bank founder Marea Ryan with their new machine.
Milk Bank founder Marea Ryan with their new machine. Blainey Woodham

Milk Bank out of woods ... for now

FEARS of the Mother Milk Bank being forced to close are gone thanks to generous community support.

The Banora Point charity needed $50,000 by the end of last month to pay for a life-saving pasteurisation machine and, following public appeals, was overwhelmed with support.

“We raised over $100,000 since early January and the cheques are still coming in,” founder and director Marea Ryan said.

“It came from thousands of people up and down the coast, from Victoria to the Northern Territory.”

Individuals and businesses, including the Tweed Daily News, dug deep to help the Mothers Milk Bank, which provides pasteurised donor mothers’ milk to infants whose mother’s own milk is not available, usually due to illness.

Premature babies are at increased risk of complications if human milk is not available.

“There was a huge cross-section of people who really wanted to see the charity go forward, which is just wonderful,” Ms Ryan said.

“At a charity lunch we got $88,000 from Gold Coast businessmen.

“It was incredible; the support was just amazing.”

“We may be able to get another machine for bar-coding and tracking our milk; it takes hours to do manually.”

But the battle is still far from won, with the charity receiving no government funding.

Ms Ryan said they were working towards raising a million dollars to be fully operational.

“We met with Geoff Provest who is keen to raise it in Parliament,” she said.

“We received an email from the International Milk Bank Community in the US, who have been helping babies in Haiti.

“They’re going to organise a grant to help our milk bank.

“The International Milk Bank Community considers us ‘third world’ with our milk bank and lack of government funding.”

The bank is also looking at funding to get a paid milk bank nurse who would co-ordinate the whole operation.

To donate go to www.bendigobank.com.au/foundation/mmb



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