BUFFALO, N.Y., July 14, 2014 - Anyone in support of a healthy start for babies or who would like to learn more about breastfeeding are welcome to participate in Catholic Charities free Breastfeeding Walk and Healthy Baby Festival on July 31 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hyde Park splash pad, on the corner of Pine and Hyde Park avenues, in Niagara Falls.
Catholic Charities Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program, which serves all of Erie and Niagara counties, is hosting the event to raise awareness of the benefits and significance of breastfeeding. The walk, in celebration of World Breastfeeding Week taking place Aug. 1-7 in more than 170 countries worldwide, is also designed to create community support to friends, family and others who are or may be considering breastfeeding, or who have breastfed.
This year's event includes a family fun walk beginning at 11:15 a.m., educational displays and resource fair, entertainment, prizes and giveaways. Families are encouraged to pack a picnic lunch. No registration is required and questions can be directed toward (716) 332-3304 ext. 207.
The theme for 2014 World Breastfeeding Week is 'A Winning Goal - for Life!', which stresses the importance of increasing and sustaining the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding. Breastmilk is beneficial to infants as it has ingredients that ensure a healthy immune system and digestive tract, and proper brain and eye development.
"Attendees of our walk and festival will have the opportunity to learn about ways to stay healthy through pregnancy, how to decrease the chance of preterm birth, and the importance of breastfeeding for the long-term health of both the baby and mother," said Katie Constantino, Catholic Charities WIC breastfeeding coordinator. "This also serves as a fun outdoor activity that offers the chance for families to meet one another and have an enjoyable morning out!"
The Buffalo Zoo-Mobile, together with Sesame Street's Elmo, will entertain participants and provide children with a unique hands-on learning experience of the animal kingdom. Vendors are invited to the event free of charge in order to provide information to participants. Vendor set up begins at 10:30 a.m. and interested parties can call (716) 874-9530 by Wednesday, July 24 to reserve a table.
The event is funded through a community award from the March of Dimes, a grant from the Many Faces of Mercy Circle and contributions from Catholic Charities of Buffalo.
WIC is a federal nutrition program which provides food, participant-centered nutrition education and referrals for eligible pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and infants and children under the age of 5. Catholic Charities WIC program serves approximately 21,000 participants each month in Erie and Niagara counties.
For more information about WIC or any other Catholic Charities service, go to www.ccwny.org.
Catholic Charities served nearly 138,000 people in need in Western New York in 2013. For 90 years, Catholic Charities has been making a difference for people of every faith and ethnicity in Western New York. Catholic Charities empowers children, families and seniors to achieve meaningful, healthy and productive lives. In all situations, Catholic Charities delivers support to meet immediate needs, and then assesses clients for other needs to ensure long-term success. It is the most comprehensive human service provider serving Western New York. For the fifth consecutive year, Catholic Charities has attained the highest-possible rating (four stars) from Charity Navigator for sound fiscal management. Catholic Charities also receives highest ratings for quality of service by the Council of Accreditation.