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CUPHD Hosts Grand Reopening of Milk Depot

The Champaign Urbana Public Health Division held a grand reopening for its breast milk depot last week. The celebration was also accompanied by an open house on maternal and child health, providing information on CUPHD's different programs for families and children.

"When we opened the depot originally, we had a big grand opening ceremony to bring awareness that the depot was here and we wanted to have another similar celebration and then it morphed into an open house because we wanted to bring awareness to all of our programs and services in the division of maternal and child health," CUPHD program coordinator Valerie Koress said.

CUPHD's breast milk depot originally opened in 2014 when it partnered with the Milk Bank of Indianapolis. However, it became difficult for families to find the depot in Champaign due to the bank's location being out of state. When people searched for milk banks or depots in Illinois, they weren't seeing the one in Champaign.

Koress said she recently heard that families were driving from Champaign-Urbana to Bloomington, Illinois to donate milk. These families were unaware that they could donate the milk right at home. This prompted Koress and the district to change milk banks.

"When families in Illinois are looking to donate milk, they find a milk bank that's located in Illinois," Koress said. "Before we made this change, we were not showing up on their website and now we will and local families will be able to find us and not have to drive out of town to donate milk."

Now, CUPHD is partnered with the Mother's Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes which is based in Elk Grove Village. This bank serves families in both Illinois and Wisconsin.

Last week's event was held to celebrate the new partnership and educate the community on the new milk bank. But, Koress also used it as an opportunity to tell the community about other programs like Woman, Infants and Children (WIC), Family Case Management and Healthworks.

"The WIC program is probably our most popular or most widely-known," Koress said. "As a program coordinator for WIC, I often get requests for presentations, meetings, interviews, different things like that and it's hard to be able to attend all of them. So, we wanted to provide an opportunity for the community to come to us and learn about not just WIC but all the programs in our division."

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