BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Motorcyclists have been crossing the state to deliver donated breast milk to babies in need and raise awareness for the New York Milk Bank.
One of the final stops of the cross-state journey was Mercy Hospital in South Buffalo Sunday morning. The group of riders arrived at the hospital escorted by motorcyclists with the Erie County Sheriff’s Office.
The milk they are delivering has been donated by women across the state who have gone through thorough health screenings. The New York Milk Bank pasteurizes the milk and distributes it to NICUs at hospitals around the region.
It can mean the difference between life and death for some premature and sick babies who cannot tolerate formula, but whose mothers cannot provide the breast milk they need.
New York State now allows Medicaid to cover the cost of donated milk for patients. Some private insurance companies are following suit. It costs 4-5 dollars per ounce to process.
The local chapter of Women on Wheels and The Litas were also part of the caravan and brought this special shipment of milk on the last leg of its journey. They picked it up in Ithaca and brought it to Mercy Hospital, before moving on to Baby’s Sweet Beginnings, another milk depot in the area.
“For women who are unable to breastfeed, it gives them the opportunity to provide that natural milk, so I think it’s a great, and for the women who donate, kudos to them, too, that they’re able to do that,” said Connie
Chandler, president of the local Women on Wheels chapter.
The motorcyclists received a blessing from a priest as part of the event Sunday morning.Women in Western New York have donated 75,000 ounces of breast milk since 2016