SEARCA, Laguna LGUs, LATCH LB collaborate for milk donation drive

  • By Leah Lyn Domingo
  • 7 July 2023

SEARCA, Laguna LGUs, LATCH LB collaborate for milk donation drive

The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) has teamed up with local government units (LGUs) in Laguna, Philippines, as well as the Lactation, Attachment, Training, Counseling, Help Los Baños (LATCH LB) to facilitate the Human Milk Donation Drive, an initiative designed to promote breastfeeding awareness and provide essential support to mothers and infants.

Held on 20 June 2023 in Cabuyao and 23 June 2023 in Bay, the donation drive was spearheaded by a robust coalition. SEARCA, LATCH LB, and the municipal governments of Cabuyao and Bay in Laguna as well as the Laguna provincial government, all lent their support to this pivotal campaign.

SEARCA and LATCH LB, a nonprofit organization, have long been partners in community action. Through their collaboration, they have worked to bring nutrition-rich food, to mothers, infants, and young children in Los Baños, a municipality where their efforts have had transformative influence.

SEARCA, Laguna LGUs, LATCH LB collaborate for milk donation driveDr. Glenn Gregorio, SEARCA director, expressed pride in their ongoing partnership, detailing how SEARCA has worked with LATCH LB, especially in food distribution.

The Laguna Human Milk Bank (LHMB), which was launched in December 2022, has been an essential resource, offering lactation education and mother-to-mother breastfeeding counseling services. A joint initiative of the Laguna provincial government, University of the Philippines Los Baños, LATCH LB, and Laguna Representative Ruth Hernandez, the LHMB has been a beacon for breastfeeding mothers and crucial reserve of breastmilk during emergencies and disasters.

At the Cabuyao Human Milk Donation Drive, Dr. Maria Cristeta Cuaresma, SEARCA senior program head for Education and Collective Learning Department, delivered an impassioned message underscoring the importance of breastfeeding during a child's formative years. She praised mothers' role in promoting healthy and nutritious food and shared SEARCA's efforts in facilitating research and programs geared toward improving the agrifood system.

Dr. Gregorio, who attended the subsequent milk donation drive, enthused about the campaign's progress, noting that "this is the third breastmilk letting in Laguna. We started in Los Baños and then moved to Cabuyao, and now we're here in Bay."

With his rallying call of turning Laguna into the "breastmilk capital of the Philippines," Dr. Gregorio sparked renewed enthusiasm among participants. He rounded off his message by emphasizing the influential role of mothers in shaping the future: "There is a saying that 'the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world,' but the mothers who breastfeed the babies today hold the babies who will feed the world tomorrow."