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CLEVELAND (WJW) — A new effort to help local mothers feed their babies is expanding in Northeast Ohio.

Preparations are underway at the Neighborhood Family Practice in Cleveland for a new breast milk donation site that will open Tuesday morning.

“Over time it came on the radar that Cleveland really didn’t have access to donating milk,” said Lauren Lasko, director of lactation medicine with the Neighborhood Family Practice.

According to Lasko, the drop site located on Ridge Road will house a freezer to store donated milk from pre-screened donors. The donated milk will then be transferred to the OhioHealth milk bank in Columbus at no cost to the donor.

Lasko said the site in Cleveland will not distribute directly to local families.

WJW photo

“This is truly for medically fragile infants, preterm infants. But if we can get enough people donating and contributing that maybe we will get more opportunities down the road that more people who need this supplementation or prefer human milk,” said Lasko.

The Cleveland site is the 20th OhioHealth milk drop location in Ohio and the donated milk is distributed throughout the country to babies in need. This newest drop-off location comes as some families still struggle to find infant formula.

“There was some potential thought that more people would be hoarding breast milk. People are amazing. The milk bank told me they had more donations than ever. And that is really the beginning of people realizing how crucial milk donation is,” said Lasko.

Interested donors are encouraged to email or call (614) 566-0630 to arrange a screening phone interview.