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LLL of Jersey City and LLL of Hoboken make WBWC a True Community Celebration

From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 24 No. 3, May-June 2007, p. 136

Congratulations LLL of Jersey City and LLL of Hoboken, New Jersey, USA. They won four $500 educational scholarships. You may ask, "How did they do it?" They participated and fundraised in the 2006 World Breastfeeding Week Celebration (WBWC). Over the years, their annual WBWC event has grown into a major community celebration that includes a walk, a soccer clinic, a lecture on parenting by Lu Hanessian, musical performances, and children's activities. They received news coverage in the Jersey City Reporter that announced the plans in an article called "Got Milk?" This article not only shared the benefits of breastfeeding, but also information from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization, and the US Department of Health and Human Services. Leader Jennifer Lisimachio's picture with her three-year-old son, Noa, were part of the article. LLL of Jersey City Leader Lissa Wells talks about organizing such a large event.

We started in May for a September event. Each year, we set huge goals ($5,000 the first year and $10,000 in 2006). We met our goal, raising $10,500. We found that the biggest key to our success is to contact people and companies who we think are committed to breastfeeding, those who do community outreach, and companies that do a lot of advertising in other fundraising programs. I collect these programs throughout the year and keep them in my La Leche League file so I can approach those businesses.

Sometimes it is almost effortless. This year, one of our Group members walked into a local pediatrician's office (not her doctor) and walked out with a $1,000 check! Her current and former pediatricians chose not to sponsor at all. So it can be unpredictable.

It is also helpful that the businesses feel they are getting exposure for their donations. We stress how many mothers we reach in our community through meetings (three per month), help calls, health fair outreach, and our WBWC event. We estimate reaching some 3,500 families. I also explain how we intend to use the funds for more outreach in our community, especially in the African American community, which has the lowest rates of breastfeeding.

I got a lot of sponsorships last year by asking my dentist, chiropractor, lawyer, accountant, bank, grocery store, my daughter's gymnastics place, and friends who used to breastfeed and have their own businesses. Many donate because there is a relationship. I've also found that it's a good idea to go to businesses that are local as big corporations and national businesses have too much red tape. I am a very persuasive personality, but it also takes many follow up phone calls. Follow up is essential. Also, some places require a lot of lead time (sometimes three to six months). So ask early.

Jennifer Lisimachio was in charge of publicity for the 2006 WBWC. It is important (to us and to the sponsors) that people attend! Also, one of our co-Leaders, Eileen Ferara, an artist, designed the graphics for the t-shirts, postcards, and banners. We downloaded forms from the WBWC Web site, which gave us photo releases and a form to help us keep track of how many people attended (about 500!).

If you are interested in planning a WBWC in your community, go to the WBWC Web site at www.lllusa.org/wbw for more ideas and suggestions for a big, small, or individual event. If your Area is not holding a WBWC event and you would like to donate to WBWC, go to https://donate2lll.org/indexSecure.htm.

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