Chicago’s ‘Milk Ladies’ Are Still Delivering Formula After 30 Years

The so-called "milk ladies," the founders of a nonprofit group based in Winnekta, Illinois, have made it their mission for the past 30 years to deliver cases of brand-name formula to Chicago mothers who cannot afford to feed their children. Infant Inc., the official name of the milk ladies' nonprofit, also delivers hand-woven blankets, infant clothing, diapers and small gifts to more than 60 child welfare organizations.

According to a report by the Chicago Tribune's Jennifer Delgado, the core group of milk ladies teamed up in 1982, spurring friends and fellow parishioners (all the women initially involved with the formula deliveries had been friends from Immaculata High School) to help with deliveries. Dorothy Clarke, one of the founders, had decided to rally some of her friends to start distributing formula when she heard that low-income mothers in recession-era Chicago were diluting their baby formula with water and sugar in order to make it last longer.

Infant Inc. has since raised more than $2.6 million, and has become something of a cross-generational enterprise — the daughters and granddaughters of the first milk ladies are now starting to make deliveries themselves, contributing to a charitable "judgment free" initiative to feed Chicago's infants.

‘Milk ladies' helping needy mothers one milk run at a time [Chicago Tribune via LA Times]