BROWNSVILLE - A new breast milk depot has opened in Brownsville to help moms feed premature or sick babies who are unable to breastfeed.

Mothers can donate extra milk at the Hope and Healing Family Center. They must first pass a list of donor requirements, and then they can drop off pumped milk or pump at the facility.

The depot is part of a larger effort to encourage more moms to breastfeed, but organizers say that can be a problem if the mom is too sick or stressed. Unfortunately, formula is harder than real milk for some babies to digest, they say.

The Hope and Healing center freezes the breast milk before shipping it to Mother's Milk Bank Northeast, where donated milk is screened, pasteurized and shipped to hospitals.