Published July 12, 2019

MELROSE — Lucia Jenkins is a strong advocate of the benefits of breast milk. Studies show it reduces the chances of ovarian cancer, breast cancer and rheumatoid arthritis in mothers and does the same for the chances of asthma and all manner of respiratory ailments, among other afflictions, in babies. Also, breast milk makes the brain work better.

So it was only natural that Lucia expressed nothing but gratitude this week towards Gray’s Appliance and The Savings Bank of Wakefield for making the new Baby Cafe Milk Depot possible at the Nazarene Church. The 2 Short St. church, already home to the Melrose Baby Cafe, dedicated a closet to fit a refrigerator in which donated mother’s milk is stored.

The Milk Depot’s grand opening ceremony is Friday at 11:30 a.m.

Lucia, a registered nurse and lactation consultant, said the milk is donated by approved donors. It is then kept frozen at strictly regulated temperatures, and shipped in quantity to the New England Mother’s Milk Bank, where it is pasteurized and shipped out to all the neo-natal intensive care units in New England to keep sick and premature infants alive. Already, seven approved women have come forward to donate their milk.

According to a piece published in Boston Magazine, donating breast milk may fly under the radar but is a fairly common practice. “Roughly 2 percent of women can’t breastfeed, while others simply find it difficult to nurse or are limited by socioeconomic or health factors. And for the children of those women — as well as those born premature or with congenital health problems 

The Melrose Milk Depot joins a growing number of facilities sprouting up around the country designed to get babies breast milk. There is a move on for all infants to breast feed or be given breast milk regularly until they are a year old. 

As Lucia Jenkins sees it, this Milk Depot will go a long way toward achieving that goal. Sooner than later.