12/23/2012 04:51 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

Breast Milk Donation Project Launched In B.C.

B.C.’s Fraser Health Authority is calling on new mothers to donate surplus breast milk as part of a pilot project this winter.

Fraser Health is using Ridge Meadows Hospital in Maple Ridge as a satellite location of the B.C. Women's Milk Bank in Vancouver, which has nourished thousands of high-risk infants since 1974.

But it won’t work without more donated milk, says Fraser Health spokeswoman Tasleem Juma.

“We know that the demand for donor milk does exceed the supply,” Juma told CBC News.

Juma said the project would allow women to donate or receive milk in the Fraser Valley.

The milk would be pasteurized, then used to feed premature or ill babies, and those at high risk of illness and infection or whose mothers can't produce enough.

"If enough women donate, we'll be able to keep a small supply of pasteurized frozen milk for use at Ridge Meadows hospital." Interested donors are asked to call the Maple Ridge Health Unit. "Women who can donate breast milk at this time of year are giving one of the most precious gifts of all," Juma said.

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