Thirty years into its existence, Fondation Olo is still rallying partners together to fulfil its essential mission of giving all families in Quebec an equal chance of bringing healthy babies into the world and introducing them to good nutritional habits early in life. The foundation was created in 1991 when perinatal care teams in 47 CLSCs in Quebec decided to join forces. Today, Olo works hand in hand with stakeholders across the healthcare and social services spectrum along with a growing number of community organizations, embracing an innovative approach with a proven track record for supporting expectant mothers and vulnerable families. Its actions focus on the first 1,000 days of life to help make sure babies get a healthy head start.
- In the past 30 years, more than 250,000 babies have come into the world healthier and stronger because of Fondation Olo and its partners and donors.
- The personalized care and services offered by Olo staff empower and encourage the adoption of healthy eating habits that are so important to a child’s growth and development.
- The food, tools and one-on-one guidance that are the backbone of the Olo approach are the key to overcoming the main barriers to a nutritious diet, namely the high cost of groceries, a lack of nutritional literacy and cooking skills, and insufficient motivation to change certain patterns.
- The Olo approach is efficient, effective and affordable. Olo babies weigh an average of 70 grams more than their non-Olo counterparts living in the same geographic area and socioeconomic context. Olo’s involvement means that babies are 1.6 times less likely to be born underweight.
- This year, there will be an estimated 10,000 mothers-to-be in Quebec who are living in economically challenging circumstances and therefore qualify for Olo’s services.
COVID-19: A weaker social safety net
For many families, the pandemic has aggravated their anxiety, isolation and food insecurity, a risky combination for babies growing in the womb and starting out in life. In this context, Olo’s support is more essential than ever. But the situation has also made parents hesitate to reach out for help. The result? A drop in Olo program enrolments in 2020, despite the greater strain facing a higher number of families.
Putting prevention front and centre: An essential link in the chain of caring
The recently published report by the Special Commission on the Rights of the Child and Youth Protection, presided by Régine Laurent, emphasized the critical importance of early prevention and intervention in working with children and the ongoing synergy between various front-line workers. Both elements are integral to Fondation Olo’s mission. For the past three decades, Olo has been committed to prevention, especially for babies and families exposed to financial hardships and the risks they entail. The Olo program helps reduce social inequalities, enabling every child to achieve their full potential and access the care they need. As part of the social safety net, Fondation Olo is playing its role in the fight against malnourishment.
This is achieved by working closely with numerous stakeholders dedicated to children’s well-being, among them corporate partners, donors and various levels of government representatives, all of whom believe in Olo’s mission and have stepped up to provide financial support. Every contributor, and every contribution, is vital in empowering Olo to do even more for families. Fondation Olo’s 30th anniversary fundraising campaign is a compelling reminder that every baby has a right to be born and grow up healthy. Together, we can nurture their future, today!
“By reducing social inequalities, Olo is creating a healthier and a fairer world for our babies. The Olo approach is unique and inspiring, and it works! It focuses on the first 1,000 days of life, emphasizing the benefits and joys of a healthy meal, cooked and eaten together as a family. This helps instil confidence in parents who only want the best for their child. Olo helps build a circle of caring and protection around children from an early age — and that’s something we all want for our kids.”
-Élise Boyer, Executive Director, Fondation Olo
“Helping parents learn healthy dietary habits and pass them along to their families has much broader implications than any one of us can truly appreciate. A child born underweight is at greater risk of delays and difficulties in their overall development. What we do is to cultivate positive eating behaviours, and this in turn has lasting repercussions on the health, academic performance and general development of each child. This is a concrete way of providing every baby with a fair shot at getting ahead in life.”
-Mylène Duplessis Brochu, Nutritionist, Fondation Olo
About Fondation Olo
Fondation Olo is dedicated to giving families an equal chance of bringing healthy babies into the world and introducing them to good eating habits early on. Fondation Olo concentrates on the first 1,000 days of life, which is critical to every child’s development. Olo provides personalized care to expectant mothers in need, supplying them with prenatal multivitamins and food vouchers to support fetal development. Olo also provides educational tools and guidance to parents and professionals in the field to instil positive nutritional habits and encourage families to cook at home and eat together. Since 1991, more than 250,000 babies in Quebec have been born stronger and healthier because of Fondation Olo. fondationolo.ca
To learn more about Olo’s 30-year history, click here.