Our Biggest Moments in 2017

marayThu, 01/11/2018 - 10:13 pm
Outdoor reception
HMBANA Symposium reception at MMBNT

What a year Mothers' Milk Bank of North Texas had in 2017! Over the course of the last 12 months, MMBNT celebrated the fragile and premature infants who benefited from donor human milk and the mothers who selflessly donated that milk. We also took huge leaps forward into the next chapter of the milk bank's history.

A grant from the North Texas Community Foundation provided the funds for MMBNT's community awareness campaign, Bright Beginnings. These ads, including a billboard located at the busy intersection of Camp Bowie Boulevard and Bryant Irvin Road in Fort Worth, educated the community about donor milk and the miracles it's making right here in our city.

MMBNT staff kicked off the summer season with the HMBANA Symposium, a 2-day event that brought together administrators and staff from nonprofit milk banks across North America. We enjoyed networking with colleagues, contributing to the strategic planning process and learning about the latest research in milk banking.

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Passing out balloons to event attendees
MMBNT staff pass out balloons to families at the Carmen's Tree Memorial

The summer included many events planned especially for milk donors. We celebrated moms who donated during the past year by treating them and their families to a Donor Appreciation Day at the Fort Worth Zoo. Bereaved milk donors, who donated milk in memory of their babies who passed away, honored their babies at the Carmen's Tree Memorial, our biennial memorial ceremony.

MMBNT participated in Tarrant County's Family Expo and Big Latch On during World Breastfeeding Week in August. In September, we commemorated the milk bank's 13th anniversary at our annual luncheon, Little Babies and Big Dreams. During the luncheon, we launched the public phase of our capital campaign, More Room for More Miracles: The Campaign for Healthy Babies.

More Room for More Miracles is a $3.067 million campaign to raise funds for the construction of a new milk bank facility. In November, we broke ground on the project and now look forward to progress, both on the building and the campaign, in the coming year.

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Staff and board members at groundbreaking event
Groundbreaking at the new building

November was a busy month for MMBNT, as local news station WFAA highlighted the milk bank in an original feature. It also hosted a Facebook Live chat on its page, providing community members the opportunity to ask questions about donor human milk.

We are thankful for a year of growth in our organization, connection with our community and miracles for the tiny babies we serve. As we get back to business in 2018, we can't wait to see what the next 12 months bring.

2017 In Review

marayWed, 01/03/2018 - 9:27 pm 100mL bottles of pasteurized donor human milk
Graphic listing 2017 statistics

Another year has come and gone, and once again babies across North Texas and beyond received live-saving donor human milk from Mothers' Milk Bank of North Texas. It was another record-breaking year, with more milk donors than ever before and the highest dispensation of donor milk ever recorded by MMBNT.

In 2017, MMBNT dispensed 568,957 ounces of donor human milk. Processing more than half a million ounces requires our staff to work tirelessly to adapt to the increasing demand for liquid gold.

Of course, fragile and premature infants can't receive this miraculous resource without the generous actions of milk donors. In 2017, a record 923 mothers became approved milk donors. These donors dedicated themselves not only to the health of their own babies, but to the health of so many others in need. We are incredibly thankful for their gifts.

In addition to the increases in donors and dispensation, MMBNT experienced even more growth. We broke ground on our new facility, reached 95 percent completion in our capital campaign, More Room for More Miracles, and connected with our community in new ways. In the coming year, we will continue to prepare for the move into our new, larger space.

We are thankful for a productive 2017, and look forward to the changes and excitement of 2018!

Making Moves at Our New Home

marayWed, 12/20/2017 - 2:42 pm Construction site
Group at construction site for groundbreaking ceremony
Dr. Susan Sward-Comunelli, Rosie Balbo, Ashley Robbins Gonzales, Amy Vickers, Kelly Hanes, Sarah Wetzler

Progress is in full swing at the site of MMBNT’s future home. In late November, we held a groundbreaking ceremony to kick off the construction project. A dedicated crew is hard at work every day, getting us one step closer to a new facility.

While the building itself is coming along, so is the capital campaign. More Room for More Miracles, the campaign that raises funds for the new facility, is 94 percent funded. Generous supporters have shown their faith in our mission and vision by donating to the campaign. To date, the capital campaign has funding from the following foundations and organizations:

 

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Ninnie L. Baird Foundation

Katherine C. Carmody Charitable Trust

Amon G. Carter Foundation

Cook Children’s Woman’s Board

Fash Foundation

First Grandmothers’ Club

Frill Foundation

Hoblitzelle Foundation

JPS Foundation

Junior League of Fort Worth

Littauer Educational Trust

Lockheed Martin AERO Club

Lowe Foundation

McQueen Foundation

Pediatrix Medical Group – Fort Worth Neonatology

Ryan Foundation

Southwest Bank

 

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Construction site
Future site of the milk processing wing

Now, there is just over $180,000 left to raise to meet the campaign’s goal of $3,067,000. We are so close to our final goal, but must rely on support from the community to achieve it. To learn more about how you can help make More Room for More Miracles, visit the campaign page on our website.

More Room for More Miracles

marayWed, 11/01/2017 - 6:53 pm Rendering of new MMBNT building
Capital Campaign logo

For years, Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas has grown to meet the increased demand for donor human milk. We are bursting at the seams in our home on Magnolia Avenue, with every feasible inch of space converted for milk storage and processing. The lab is operating at almost double its capacity, employees don’t have the office space they need, and there is no room for volunteer groups or board meetings. With a need for space and a continuous increase in demand, the milk bank faces an exciting new chapter in its history: the chance to establish a new building.

MMBNT is thrilled to announce the purchase of a new home in southwest Fort Worth. Located in a light industrial park, an existing building will house all administrative staff, as well as a conference room and community education room. The adjacent property is the future site of a brand new, state-of-the-art milk processing wing. Construction on the project will begin soon.

To raise funds for this project, MMBNT staff and volunteers have been hard at work on a capital campaign, More Room for More Miracles. Thanks to gifts from foundations and individuals, the campaign is currently 89 percent funded. With just over $300,000 left to raise, we are thankful for the support we’ve received and for those considering donations.

Click here to learn more about the campaign and how you can help us make More Room for More Miracles.

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MMBNT's Littlest Team Member

marayTue, 10/17/2017 - 1:22 pm Leslie holds baby Liliana while at her desk
Courtney holds Liliana while working at her desk
Courtney gets some help with a project from Liliana.

Courtney has held her position as a program assistant at Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas for more than a year, but four months ago she stepped into a new role: mom. Returning to work after giving birth is not easy, but Courtney’s transition has been a little smoother because of MMBNT’s policy regarding babies at work. That’s right – Courtney’s daughter Liliana is an office baby.

 

At MMBNT, employees can bring their babies to work with them until they are 6 months old. This allows moms to get extra bonding time with their children, and helps them ease back into their jobs. For Courtney, it has been a perfect setup.

 

"I enjoy being able to get the extra bonding time with her," she said. "I get to be there if she starts crying to help soothe her, and I don't have to miss her."

 

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Leslie holds Liliana while at her desk
Our accountant, Leslie, enjoys time with Liliana.

Courtney is not the only one who enjoys this program. The MMBNT staff love babies, so everyone gets some much-needed “baby time” each day. Courtney appreciates this, because her job requires her to be up and moving for most of the day. When Liliana is tired of baby-wearing with Courtney, she has plenty of mom’s coworkers who are ready to hold her, play with her, or rock her to sleep.

 

Spending extra time with her baby has given Courtney, a first time mom, peace of mind and confidence in Liliana’s development. “She gets to work on her social skills with people she sees every day, and I feel much more comfortable starting daycare at 6 months old than at 6 weeks old,” she said.

 

“Being able to have Liliana here at work with me has been the best experience,” she said. “She brightens my day.”

 

To learn more about Mothers' Milk Bank of North Texas, click here.

Connecting in our Community

marayMon, 10/02/2017 - 8:25 pm Milk bank booth at Tarrant County Infant Health Summit
Guests sitting at their table during the milk bank's luncheon
Luncheon guests of Gold Sponsor Pediatrix Medical Group - Fort Worth Neonatology.

At Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas, we value community involvement. Sharing our mission with others means more people understand the importance of donor milk, which can inspire some moms to become milk donors and others to use donor milk when they are in need. It is also a way to support other people and organizations in our area who share similar missions and values with us.

 

In the past few weeks, our staff has been busy participating in many events throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. We hosted our 13th anniversary luncheon, Little Babies and Big Dreams, at the end of September. Medical professionals and friends of the milk bank gathered to celebrate another year of milk banking and raise funds for our programs, all while enjoying lunch and a variety of great prizes in our raffle.

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Milk bank booth at Tarrant County Infant Health Summit
Mary Ashley and Ashley represent MMBNT at the Tarrant County Infant Health Summit.

 

In addition to hosting our own luncheon, the milk bank was out in full force at conferences and other events. We mingled with families at the Texas Health Harris Southwest NICU Reunion and educated employees at the Lockheed Martin Volunteer/Nonprofit Agency Fair. We were thrilled to share our mission and discuss volunteer opportunities with Lockheed employees, as Lockheed’s AERO Club has been a financial supporter of MMBNT for many years.

 

Staff also attended the Tarrant County Infant Health Summit held in Colleyville, and showcased our educational materials available for healthcare professionals during the Preemie Parent Summit held at Cook Children's Medical Center. Our schedules have been full, and connecting with other infant health professionals and advocates has made it all worth it.

 

The Logging Room: Where it All Begins

marayTue, 09/19/2017 - 3:48 pm Staff and a volunteer check pump dates on bags of donated milk.
Staff and a volunteer check pump dates on bags of donated milk.

Thousands of ounces of milk flow through Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas every week, so proper handling and organization in the office and lab is a must. Each deposit from each donor is carefully recorded and tracked all the way through processing and pasteurization, starting in the logging room.

 

The logging room is the beginning of the journey for donated human milk. This is where frozen donations are stored right when they arrive at the milk bank, whether from a depot or delivered directly from a donor. There are program assistants on staff at MMBNT who monitor this milk and ensure it is logged into the database, Timeless Medical Systems, correctly.

 

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Milk deposit, including an index card with detailed information about the deposit.

Each deposit of milk is organized according to its donor. Each donor has her own ID number in the Timeless database, and her profile includes her donation history and relevant health information. The program assistants also take note of the earliest and latest pump date in each deposit, as well as the volume of the deposit in ounces. All this information goes into Timeless, as well as on an index card stored with the deposit for easy identification.

 

The database also records the specific freezer where each deposit is stored. The logging room contains many freezers with dozens of deposits in each one, so recording the location in the database makes it easier to find a specific deposit. This particularly comes in handy for the lab staff, who at the end of the day gather all deposits that will be processed the next day.

 

With so many moving parts in the milk bank, organization is vital to everyday operations. This first step helps set up a smooth process for every ounce that enters our doors.

Little Babies & Big Dreams: 13th Anniversary Luncheon

marayMon, 08/21/2017 - 4:38 pm Luncheon invitation
Luncheon invitation

Every fall, Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas celebrates its anniversary with a luncheon. The milk bank opened in the fall of 2004, and since then has provided safe, pasteurized donor human milk to premature and fragile babies in the community. This year, the celebratory luncheon will take place at 11:30 am Thursday, September 21, at River Crest Country Club.

 

Guests will enjoy lunch, dessert and a presentation about the exciting future of MMBNT. Additionally, there will be a raffle containing a variety of prizes, from local restaurant gift cards to gift baskets from local stores and boutiques.

 

Several sponsors are already lined up for this year’s celebration, including our Gold Sponsor, Pediatrix Medical Group – Fort Worth Neonatology.

 

Individual tickets are $75, $50 of which is a tax-deductible donation. All money raised at the event, including ticket sales, sponsorships and raffle ticket sales will go toward our programs that help babies in need. To purchase a ticket, click here.

 

We hope to see you at River Crest on September 21!

 

For more information about Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas, click here.

Helping Hands Around the Milk Bank

marayWed, 08/02/2017 - 2:58 pm 2 volunteers pose with packets they have assembled.
A volunteer moves a tray of thawing breastmilk.

There is so much happening on any given day at Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas. The lab staff is busy processing and pasteurizing milk, the donor coordinators are managing new and existing donors, orders are being placed and packed, milk donations are coming in and so much more. With so many different things going on at one time, extra help from volunteers can help the day run a little more efficiently.

 

Many volunteers help assemble educational materials for potential donors. These “new mom packets” are available at hospitals, WIC clinics and doctors’ offices for anyone who is interested in donating milk. MMBNT is on track to distribute nearly 10,000 packets this year, so when volunteers assemble these, it is an invaluable help to the Community Relations staff.

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2 volunteers pose with packets they have assembled.

Other volunteers work alongside Program Assistants to log incoming milk donations, as well as pack orders for hospitals and outpatients. These volunteers get a first-hand look at both the beginning and the end of milk’s journey through MMBNT.

 

For those who qualify, there is even the opportunity to assist staff in the lab. These volunteers complete extra training in order to work in the lab, and they come in on a consistent schedule.

 

Most volunteers do come as individuals, but many school, workplace and charity groups have also donated their time to MMBNT. If you have an interest in milk banking and want to get involved, consider becoming a volunteer!

 

For more information about volunteer opportunities, email Mary Ashley Ray at maryashley@texasmilkbank.org.

Staff Profile: Ashley

marayTue, 07/11/2017 - 3:14 pm Ashley logs in a milk donation
Ashley logs in a milk donation
Ashley logs in a milk donation.

Ashley is a jack of all trades at Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas. As one of the newest members of the MMBNT staff, she quickly adjusted to the team mentality of the office and works in several different areas of the organization. It’s only been four months since Ashley started, but she knew it would be a good fit right from the beginning.

 

“My sons spent 10 days in the NICU and I breastfed them because I had done tons of research on the benefits,” Ashley said. “When I came across the milk bank, I knew it was a cause I could get behind 110 percent.”

 

During a typical day, Ashley has a variety of duties. She screens potential milk donors and works with existing donors who have questions or may need assistance, and she also manages the outpatient donor milk recipients. When she's away from her desk, she can be found packing orders or logging in new milk donations. All of this combines to make what Ashley considers to be the most rewarding job she's ever had.

 

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Ashley working at her desk
Ashley spends time at her desk helping both donors and recipients.

The members of the MMBNT family can all agree that there is something special about working for this organization, and Ashley is just the same. “MMBNT is special to me because it’s a community of women supporting one another, even if they’ve never met each other and because of that, babies are genuinely receiving the best possible start to life!”

 

Her personal experience in the NICU with her twin boys, Ethan and Elijah, sheds light on the importance of milk banking as well.

 

"Moms who have babies in the NICU are experiencing an overload of emotion already and if they can't supply what their baby needs, it can be devastating. Having donor milk to rely on helps give them a little peace. Plus, babies are receiving the best possible medicine."

 

For more information about Mothers' Milk Bank of North Texas, click here.