Becoming a Woman Who Does the Necessary Things

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On Delivering 330 Cans of Baby Formula to the Food Bank

By Brandi-Lee Doucette | Twitter: @brandilee1

Let us be women who leap to do the necessary things.


The Backstory: On September 21, 2009 my husband and I welcomed our beautiful little son, Finn, into the world. I will not soon forget the tremendous effort–the pain–that came in constant waves for hours upon hours. The pushing … Oh Lord, the pushing.

“How long will the pushing take?” I asked my midwife (near the start of labour, when I could still speak for more than five seconds at a time.)

“Oh, on average about one to two hours tops,” she replied.

I could manage that, I thought. When the time came, and she told me to push, I did. I pushed. And pushed. And pushed. I pushed for four hours.

Finally he was here. I looked down at him, this little human that came from me, the very one I had the immense blessing of carrying for months. I felt like my heart was going to come spilling out of my eyes; I felt so full of love.

I felt like I finally “got: what moms talked about- that connection and love for a being created inside me. Our desire for this little one was to protect him, surround him with as much love as we are able to give him, and to help him grow to be healthy, happy and strong.

Hello, Formula

I breastfed Finn for the first seven and half months of his life; then, suddenly he decided he wasn’t into it anymore. I don’t know if it was me or him, but it just wasn’t happening. So we had to start buying baby formula to keep him nourished–to help him grow and be healthy. When I approached the menacing aisle of baby food and formula, I was shocked. One can for $27? And it lasts HOW LONG? A week at best? How could we afford this?

As the days wore on and I was buying about a can per week (sometimes more), I began to think: if this is a stretch for my family … an average middle class family of three, what’s it like for the ones who can barely make ends meet? The single mothers? The unemployed mothers and fathers? The parents who want to provide for their kids just as much as I do, but struggle so hard to do so?

The Idea

I brought an idea to a couple of the leaders in our church to put together a Baby Formula Drive to help families that are not able to fully provide for their babies on their own. As we looked into it with the Surrey Food Bank, we learned parents were watering down their baby’s bottles to make the formula stretch. As a result, babies were underweight, prone to sickness, and generally malnourished. We also learned the Food Bank is in a constant need of formula, and in equal and constant shortage. All the time.

So, at our last LifeWomen conference we asked each registrant to donate $5, and all proceeds would go toward purchasing formula for the Surrey Food Bank. The response was overwhelming. The final total was somewhere around $4,600! After some research, we were able to purchase over 330 cans of formula.

Judith Laurel Photography

A few weeks ago we delivered the formula to the Surrey Food Bank. As the van containing the tins backed up and unloaded box after box after box, my heart was again full. Each can represented food for one week for one baby in our community. The near-empty shelves would be more full for a little while.

Part of our SheLoves manifesto is:

Let us be women who carry each other… Let us be women who leap to do the difficult things, the unexpected things and the necessary things.

Loretta Hibbs, community care pastor at Relate Church, with one of the Surrey Food Bank volunteers. Image, Judith Laurel Photography

I believe carrying each other includes carrying those we may never meet. We will probably never come face to face with the families that will benefit from this, and they might never know that some women organized a formula drive for them and their babies.

There are many needs in our world today. Providing for a baby’s daily nutrition? I’ve learned it’s a necessary thing.

About Brandi-Lee:

Heyo! My name is Brandi-Lee Doucette. I am wife to Chris, mother to Finn, and a graphic designer for Relate Church and my independent business, Sparrow Design.

Likes: laughing, low brow humour, a good book, good design, truth, history, breakfast for dinner, and running (just discovered). Dislikes: bad fonts and really spicy food! I believe that a life can be changed, no matter how or where it was started. I was born, raised and currently reside in beautiful British Columbia, right in the heart of the 604.

Image credit: Foodbank Delivery, by Judith Laurel Photography

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Idelette McVicker
I like soggy cereal and I would like to go to every spot on the map of the earth to meet our world’s women. I dream of a world where no women or girls are for sale. I dream of a world where women and men are partners in doing the work that brings down a new Heaven on earth. My word last year was “roar” and I learned it’s not about my voice rising as much as it is about our collective voices rising in unison to bring down walls of injustice. This year, my own word is “soar.” I have three children and this place–right here, called shelovesmagazine.com–is my fourth baby. I am African, although my skin colour doesn’t tell you that story. I am also a little bit Chinese, because my heart lives there amongst the tall skyscrapers of Taipei and the mountains of Chiufen. Give me sweet chai and I think I’m in heaven. I live in Vancouver, Canada and I pledged my heart to Scott 11 years ago. I believe in kindness and calling out the song in each other’s hearts. I also believe that Love covers–my gaps, my mistakes and the distances between us. I blog at idelette.com and tweet @idelette.
Idelette McVicker

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  • Tammie

    Great article B!! I had no idea that was your initiative, so cool.

    • Thanks Tam! It was amazing seeing come in to fruition at the Food Bank. Brought tears to my eyes!

  • Daniela Schwartz

    Thanks for being the type of women who puts her hand up and says “yes, I will” proud of you.

  • Awesome B!!! Are you still taking donations for this?

  • kazzles

    That is a great idea – though it also strikes me that poorer women also need access to lactation consultants, La Leche League etc. So much cheaper to not need formula at all if you get the right help soon. I know in my country that help is available free, but is that the case everywhere?

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