Note: This fundraiser took place from April 22, 2021 to May 14, 2021.
July 2021 Update! Announcing: “Pay It Forward” Scholarship Recipients:
Congratulations to Micaela McHenry, FSD and Mariah Eldridge, IFSD, recipients of “Pay It Forward” scholarships.
This past spring, we worked alongside Lindsey McGahey, IBC, IFSD on the #ReclaimIndigenousBreastfeeding fundraising campaign in support of her efforts to serve Indigenous families. Micaela and Mariah also serve Indigenous families to reclaim traditional birth and breastfeeding practices. Inspired by Lindsey’s passion and advocacy for the Indigenous community, and in alignment with the State of Michigan Breastfeeding Plan, Michigan WIC kindly offered two additional scholarships for Indigenous birth/breastfeeding workers in support of their work in their local communities, focusing support on where families live, work, and play. Learn more at https://mailchi.mp/mibreastfeeding.org/2021-pay-it-forward-recipients
Background: Breastfeeding saves lives, especially in emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic. The ongoing pandemic has been disproportionately deadly for Indigenous families and shined an even brighter light on the systemic racism that often causes poor health outcomes in Indigenous communities. The impacts of colonization, family separation and forced assimilation on Indigenous people result in breastfeeding rates that do not reflect the traditional birth and breastfeeding practices of Indigenous cultures.
Indigenous birth and breastfeeding supporters, like Lindsey McGahey, IBC, IFSD, are reclaiming traditional birth and breastfeeding practices by learning and sharing the wisdom of their ancestors. In addition to serving as a breastfeeding peer counselor at the Chippewa County Health Department, Lindsey also participated in the Indigenous Breastfeeding Counselor training in June 2018 and has formed an integral part of the community that has evolved since. Throughout the pandemic, she continues to bravely show up to support Indigenous families. Lindsey’s sentiment is that “breastfeeding never stops.” Out of deep love for her community, she makes herself available nearly 24/7 to families in her roles as a panoramic doula, peer counselor, and Indigenous Breastfeeding Counselor.
We are so thankful to all of the generous donors! Your investment in Indigenous birthing and breastfeeding families during the COVID-19 pandemic is helping to save lives. Thank you so much for your contribution to the #ReclaimIndigenousBreastfeeding Fundraising Campaign. Thanks for all you do to support breastfeeding families!
Click here to view full list of donors.
Why invest in the #ReclaimIndigenousBreastfeeding fundraiser?
With the lived experience of being a low-income mother, Lindsey humbly serves families without charging fees, providing her services for free. She prioritizes BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and low-income families. To meet the needs of her community, Lindsey has been slowly purchasing meals, materials, and supplies over the past few years with money out of her own pocket.
After getting to know Lindsey, her heart, and her work, it is clear that she is committed to serving families, and growing her capacity to serve, even if it is at her own expense. Lindsey says, “my goal is to begin traditional postpartum doula practices in-person as soon as my families are comfortable with that in the time of COVID-19.” This includes preparing and providing traditional meals to families. We asked for your help to ensure that the Indigenous families Lindsey serves could continue receiving the breastfeeding support and doula services that they need, while Lindsey continued to support her own young children.
What were the donations be used for? We worked together with Lindsey to raise over $5,000 to purchase items she will use to expand her services and serve more families including postpartum meals, gas cards, a laptop, cell phone, mobile hotspot, HIPAA-compliant charting subscription, and baby scale.
Click here to learn more.