Fredericksburg Chapter Walk for Breastfeeding
Fredericksburg VA LLL Leaders
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 25, No. 1, January-February 2008, pp. 44-45
As the last display tripods were taken down, the final silent auction items paid for, and the last swag bag given out, La Leche Leagues of Fredericksburg, Orange, and Stafford, Virginia, USA drew their annual Walk for Breastfeeding Community Awareness Event to a successful close. The event was held at the Fredericksburg Sport and Health Club, on May 19 from 10 am to 1 pm. The Groups raised over $5,000 from donations, silent auctions, raffles, and online auctions. That is about a $1,500 increase over the income from last year's event! Overall, the year of planning and months of intensive hard work paid off.
The primary goal of Fredericksburg's Chapter 2007 event was clear, "Walk for Community Breastfeeding Awareness." Breastfeeding awareness grew during all stages of the event from planning to execution. Fliers, letters, emails, Internet message boards, Internet blog postings, phone calls, and word of mouth discussions helped draw attention and interest to breastfeeding. The Chapter Walk Coordinator, Hilary, set up a nursing lounge for a quieter place to meet children's breastfeeding needs while at the same time giving attendees a place to pick up more breastfeeding information and speak with a La Leche League Leader about breastfeeding topics. A guest speaker from the organization Nine In and Nine Out provided babywearing demonstrations using assorted carriers -- helping to nurture and further encourage the breastfeeding relationship. As door prizes and raffle winners were announced, attendees listened to breastfeeding facts broadcast from volunteer DJ Roo, who at the beginning of the event didn't even know how to pronounce "La Leche." In addition to the informative help offered by the LLL Leaders in attendance, a registered nurse from Mary Washington Hospital hosted an information table and provided professional medical information.
Planning for the event began the day after the 2006 event ended. Hilary, Chapter Walk Coordinator, set out to increase auction sales by contacting more companies for more merchandise donations. Leaders, members, and volunteers contacted over 200 local, national, and international companies for donations that ranged from 15 pizzas from a local restaurant to cloth diapers. Food donations fed walkers, smaller sample-size corporate donations went into take-home swag bags, and donated merchandise items were sold at either of two auctions -- a silent one at the site of the event and an Internet one set up through MissionFish, a non-profit division of eBay. Having two auctions with a wide array of items helped attract attention and added interest while boosting the monetary totals.
Next year, we hope the number of participating moms and Leaders from the Chapter Groups (Stafford, Orange, and Fredericksburg) will be higher -- making it an even bigger event! Perhaps we will have success with soliciting monetary donations from local family doctors and pediatricians and/or persuading a local TV and radio station to the site of our event. Although we will not have Hilary to lead us, as she is moving, we are confident LLL Leaders and moms will rise to the occasion and help us surpass our goals again next year. Come walk with Us in 2008!
To find out about how to get involved with a World Breastfeeding Week event in your area, find a local LLL Leader at www.llli.org.
Celebrity Baby Blog Supports World Breastfeeding Week Celebrations
Though my nursing relationship with my daughter, Anya, (who I just weaned at 23 months) was virtually snag-free, La Leche League was an invaluable resource for support and friendship throughout our nursing relationship. LLL taught me so much about the importance of breastfeeding that I became an accidental "lactivist" along the way and use my Web site, the Celebrity Baby Blog (www.celebritybabies.com) to raise awareness of breastfeeding and educate my readers (many of whom are pregnant or will be pregnant at some point) about how incredible breastfeeding is. In support of World Breastfeeding Week I used my Web site for a second year in a row as a platform to raise awareness and funds for LLL.
This year, our World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) Celebration included a month of raffles, valued at over $75 each. Our readers donated $1,032 and won prizes valued at over $2,300. We also raised another $1,000 in sponsorship fees.
With over two million visitors to my Web site every month, the success of the raffle seemed imminent. Following the raffle, the main rewards we witnessed were the excitement of readers who had chosen to support LLL and WBW while winning prizes, and the knowledge that we could make a difference and support a cause that we are so passionate about!
2007 World Breastfeeding Week Celebrations