Milwaukee (CBS 58) — New pilot program uses monthly food boxes to increase food security for local mothers.
The Wisconsin DHS reports that the annual number of pregnancy-related deaths across the state is below the national average, but the gap between black and white women is even greater. Given maternal mortality, Birthworkers United teamed up with Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin to help pregnant women of color who are at increased risk of pregnancy-related deaths through a new pilot program.
“Even in the clinic, some of my colleagues [and I]we go grocery shopping for our patients,” Vanessa Johnson, founder of Bathworkers United, said Wednesday in announcing the program.
Called The Nurturing Collaborative, the program provides up to 200 participants with a free “nutrition box” filled with healthy foods for one year.
“Building a support system is one of the hardest things for us mothers to do,” says Milwaukee mom Kimberly Diaz. “Many families don’t have that support. Stress is the number one killer. I hate to say it, but yes.”
In addition to the monthly food packages, three times a year families receive boxes filled with merchandise from minority-owned businesses based specifically on the needs of babies and their parents. These are what Johnson calls “nurturing boxes.”
“The wording is important. If we’re servicing this population, they’re telling us that we intended to put items in the nurturing box and add items to the nutrition box.” I think you need to know, they’re led by people like them, Johnson said.
From candles to crystals to dental supplies, these boxes focus on self-care.
“Self-care is very important. When you give birth, you often forget about yourself because you focus too much on what your child needs and don’t think, ‘Let’s take a nice bath.’ ‘ says Diaz. she said.
Workshops on health-focused topics, such as yoga and cooking classes, and mental health workshops, are also offered to attendees throughout the year.
The program has 200 spots and registration opens on Wednesday, February 1st. If you would like to register, please visit her website at Feeding America.