JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - On Monday, April 5, Second Harvest North Florida and Shands Jacksonville launched an expanded Nutrition for Mothers, Nourishment for Babies Healthy Food Program at the Shands OB-GYN clinic.
A kickoff event at the hospital featured a cooking demonstration by Chef Jessica Bright, a local television and radio personality, as well as distribution of healthy food products to all women who attend their appointments that day.
Since November 2009, a pilot program has been delivering 75 10-pound bags of healthy and fresh food to the Shands OB/GYN clinic each Wednesday morning to give to pregnant women as they leave from their first obstetrics visit. Thanks to funding from the Walmart State Foundation, however, the program will begin daily distributions on April 5 – when 80 bags of food will be delivered every weekday – meaning that each time a woman comes to her OB/GYN appointment she will receive healthy food, nutritional information and a recipe to take home.
The program was made possible through a generous grant from the Wal-Mart State Foundation. Its focus is on delivering nutritious food options and educational materials to expectant mothers living in low-income neighborhoods that are identified with high infant mortality rates. The program’s goal is to improve the health of expectant mothers, which will lead to improved health for their unborn baby, lower infant mortality rates and improved health of the baby once born.
This initiative is the direct result of a 2008 JCCI study on infant mortality in Jacksonville. According to the study, there is an exceedingly high death rate among children under the age of one in Jacksonville. The city’s infant mortality rate is the highest in Florida, exceeding the U.S. average and sadly those in many third-world countries.
Chef Jessica Bright, who regularly appears on local television and radio programs, will offer tips for preparing healthy meals, a cooking demonstration that features ground beef, cabbage, brown rice, oatmeal and selected vegetables. She will also provide a nutritional handout for the women attending their obstetrics appointments on Monday, April 5.