FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) and The Milk Bank announced plans Thursday to host six milk drives across Indiana in the coming months, including one at Dupont Hospital in September, to provide human milk to Hoosier babies.

Indiana has been particularly affected by the national formula shortage not only because of the shortage, but also due to safety recalls from Abbott Nutrition and breastfeeding rates being below the national average.

Milk drives allow interested donors to complete their blood draw and make their first donation all in one event.

“In the absence of a mother’s own milk, pasteurized donor human milk offers optimal nutrition, easy digestibility and immunologic protection against diseases,” said Indiana DOH Commissioner Kristina Box. “Since every ounce counts, we have launched six milk drives around the state to ensure that there is enough donor milk for every infant in need.”

The Milk Bank is an Indianapolis-based non-profit aimed at saving infant lives and improving health outcomes by providing access to safe human milk.

“More than 1,000 milk donors step forward every year to make sure all babies have their best chance to survive and thrive,” said Freedom Kolb, executive director at The Milk Bank.

The milk drives are part of the Every Ounce Counts initiative, which launched July 26 and hopes to increase milk donations and provide convenient opportunities for milk donors to help improve infant health and save lives.

“Over the last month, we’ve seen an 89% surge in demand and more than 200% increase in medical relief requests,” Kolb said. “We are grateful to the IDOH and our philanthropic partners for helping us ensure that no baby goes hungry and the ability to pay does not dictate health outcomes.”

  • Aug. 13 in Monroe County at IU Health Bloomington Hospital
  • Aug. 23 in Lake County at the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana
  • Sept. 8 in Clark County at Clark Memorial Health
  • September (date TBD) in Allen County at Dupont Hospital
  • Oct. 7 in Marion County at Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana