Operation Food Search recently launched a new pilot program to provide mothers-to-be with weekly food deliveries to nourish both the mothers and their unborn babies. Each day, teams for this St. Louis-based nonprofit focus on ending hunger in the metropolitan area.
Called Fresh Rx: Nourishing Healthy Starts, the idea of the new program is to assist low-income mothers with having healthier pregnancies, says Lucinda Perry, director of strategic initiatives for Operation Food Search.
"We want them to know they don’t have to worry about having enough food or the right food during pregnancy."
Lucinda says this is the only food-as-medicine program in existence that addresses food insecurity during pregnancy.
HOW FRESH Rx HELPS MOTHERS-TO-BE
1. Fresh Rx team members are working with the OB Care Center, a full-service prenatal care facility at SSM Health DePaul Hospital, to identify women in the early stages of pregnancy.
2. Participants get weekly portions of produce, dairy and meats, along with hands-on guidance from OFS’ registered dietitian, plus in-home and online cooking directions from OFS’ chef.
3. The fresh food delivery program extends up to 60 days after babies are delivered.
4. Lucinda says that while about 30 mothers currently are participating in the Fresh Rx program, the goal is to assist 500 families over the next four years.
5. To donate food for this new initiative, visit OFSFreshRx.org.
The Fresh Rx program received a four-year grant from the Bayer Fund. Additional project funders include Anthem Foundation, Episcopal Presbyterian Health Trust and Wallace Center at Winrock International. Primary partners include Fair Shares Combined Community Supported Agriculture and the OB Care Center at SSM DePaul Hospital – St. Louis.
Research indicates food insecurity during pregnancy is associated with gestational diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, higher levels of depression, low birth weights, birth defects and developmental delays.