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La Leche League of Jacksonville, Florida, USA Rocks the House -- My House!

Pat Johnston
Jacksonville FL USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 44, No. 3, 2008, p. 16

In 1992, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) launched World Breastfeeding Week (WBW). Although WBW is recognized officially on August 1-7 every year, LLL Groups across the world hold events all year long to celebrate. Currently, more than 120 countries worldwide participate in WBW.

This year, the theme is Mother Support: Going for the Gold. This theme calls for increased support for mothers in achieving the gold standard of infant feeding, which is breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months, and continuing to breastfeed while feeding other appropriate complementary foods for up to two years and beyond.

In Jacksonville, Florida, USA, here's what one LLL Group did to celebrate WBW.

At the beginning of this year, my co-Leaders and I sat around a delicious potluck dinner one evening and discussed options for celebrating World Breastfeeding Week. We unanimously decided that simple was the way to go this year, and settled on having our event during a regularly scheduled Series Meeting in my home in August. We wanted to invite fathers to attend as well so we thought an abundance of food was crucial. Small details changed as the months went by, but still, we stayed on the "simple" track. To raise money, we distributed painted flowerpots throughout the months of June and July, and encouraged mothers to collect coins for us and return them at our event in August.

We had leftover donations from last year's event, so I talked with my co-Leaders about having a silent auction and raffle during. After everyone's agreement, I made a list of past donors and several other businesses. Then another mother and I contacted several dozen businesses -- over half of them donated to our event. In exchange, we agreed to mention their business in our publicity and distribute any promotional supplies they provided for us.

Three weeks before the event, I sent a mass email to everyone that is on our meeting reminder list, shared it with Leaders from the other two Groups in our area, and encouraged everyone to pass the email along to others who may be interested in attending. In the email, I listed most of the items we would have available, along with their price value. I encouraged proxy bidding in case people wouldn't be able to attend but wanted to participate in the silent auction. I also sent a reminder email the weekend before the event. We divided the donated items into three categories:

  • Items with the highest value went in the open bid silent auction, where everyone could see the bids.
  • Items in the middle range went in the closed bid auction, where each person wrote on a slip of paper the amount he or she was willing to pay for the item. At the close of the auction, we compared the bids in each box and the highest bidder won. In the case of a tie, we had a deck of cards handy; whoever picked the highest card won.
  • Items with the lowest retail value went into the raffle. We sold each ticket for $1 and anyone buying 10 tickets also received a free WBW shirt.

As the event day approached, we anticipated a large crowd so decided to just have announcements, introductions, and answer questions instead of a typical meeting. The evening of the event, we rocked with a full house! Over 17 families attended, including a mother who had not attended a meeting in a year. She was still breastfeeding, and made adorable cupcakes decorated with the international symbol for logo. Before the event, I had a modest goal -- to make at least enough money to pay all of our annual dues for this coming year. I'm thrilled that we quadrupled the amount of money I had hoped for! Overall, our WBW was a big success -- not too much work and the payback was huge. We'll definitely be planning something similar next year.

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