A college classmate of mine, a lovely mother of three, sent me this message last night via Facebook (some parts translated from Filipino):
I have a suggestion: please circulate my suggestion to anyone you know who will be donating things, to everyone in your network’s who’s helping. Please concentrate on infant formula for babies 0 to 2 years of age, jarred baby food or infant porridge mixes, and diapers. The bulk of things being asked for are mostly for grown-ups – what about relief for babies and their survival?
She has a very valid point: in our rush to help older folks, it’s the kids who end up getting the shorter end of the stick. Fortunately, a number of organizations have started programs aimed specifically at meeting the needs of infants and young children.
Babies Need Milk!
The Human Milk Bank at the Philippine General Hospital in Manila is calling for donations of breastmilk to feed hungry infants in Samar and Leyte. Donors in the Greater Manila Area (National Capital Region) can drop off chilled and properly stored milk at the following venues:
UP-PGH Human Milk Bank
UP-PGH, Taft Avenue, Manila
02-5548400 local 3418.
Alay Gatas Headquarters Human Milk Bank
Philippine Children’s Medical Center, Quezon Avenue, Quezon City
02-9246601 to 25 local 288.
Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital
Lope de Vega, Sta. Cruz, Manila
02-7345561 local 156.
The Medical City Lactation Unit
The Medical City, Ortigas Avenue
02-6356789 local 6720.
St. Luke’s Medical Center Lactation Unit
St. Luke’s Medical Center Global City, 8th floor North Wing, Bonifacio Global
02-7897700 local 7118.
Medela House, 29 1st St., New Manila, Quezon City
In the Visayas Region, milk donations can be dropped off at the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit of the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) on B. Rodriguez St in Cebu City. You can call them at 032-2539898.
ChildFund and Then Some…
Those abroad can donate via ChildFund which has already brought in supplies for children’s relief as of 12th November 2013. ChildFund is also trying to establish child-centered spaces where they can give psycho-social support for kids suffering trauma from the devastation.
For those of you who are still gathering supplies for aid kits, why don’t you take a shot at making child-specific supply kits featuring any of the following items:
- Baby food in jars or ready-to-eat baby cereal;
- Ready-to-drink infant formula in disposable bottles (The water supply in many areas is still sketchy so sterilization may become an issue; RTD formula and disposable bottles will be a great help);
- Pediatric medicines for coughs, colds, diarrhea, and allergies;
- Pediatric vitamin supplements (Those in chewable tablet or pastille form are best, I think);
- Warm clothing and footwear (shoes or rubber flip-flops);
- Towels and blankets;
- Diapers; and
- Plush toys (These actually help kids get over trauma.)
Likewise, please get in touch with local colleges and universities as there is a great need for child psychologists, play-therapists, and qualified guidance counselors to further assist the recovery of traumatized children.
Any form of relief you can send their way will play a key role in bringing health and happiness back to these poor children who have gone through one of the world’s worst disasters.