The current pandemic is directly impacting thousands of pregnant women living in financial insecurity in Quebec. As even the most basic actions become complicated, the stress and food insecurity experienced by pregnant women are harmful to their unborn child’s health. Fondation Olo is launching a COVID-19 emergency fundraising campaign to collect $750,000, to allow these women to have enough food to eat and to deliver a healthy baby.
Right now, there are over 5,000 expectant mothers who need the Olo services and follow-up. Demand will increase in the coming months and Fondation Olo must be able to meet it.
This new financing will cover 3 exceptional measures:
- Extending the period during which Olo foods (eggs, milk and frozen vegetables) are provided, for up to 1 month after the baby’s birth
- Offering more healthy foods and greater flexibility when shopping (a new measure to buy products other than the 3 standard ones)
- Responding to requests for help from families, which will grow over the coming months
Fondation Olo’s mission is to offer personalized follow-up care to expectant mothers in need, by providing prenatal multivitamins, vouchers redeemable for food and professional advice for parents. This mission is more important than ever given the current situation in which food and financial insecurity are increasing drastically, and given that the anxiety and stress created by this crisis have a tangible impact on babies.
The ice storm and COVID-19: Real impacts on babies
The vulnerability of pregnant women during intensely stressful times has been studied by researcher Suzanne King, instigator of Projet Verglas on the Quebec 1998 ice storm. Her research has shown that stress during pregnancy has negative effects on the fetus, which impact the child’s pace of development and are harmful to health later on in life.
Food insecurity triggers anxiety and increases the risks of depression and nutritional deficiencies, which then lead to increased risks of premature birth, low birth weight and chronic illness and also impact child development.
Fondation Olo is concerned that similar effects will arise from the COVID-19 crisis. Since the situation is likely to last, we must act now to counter the negative impacts and help babies come into the world healthy.
“We are entering a critical stage of the pandemic, when, more than ever, we must support vulnerable pregnant women. While the food banks are doing incredible work, they can’t be the sole option during pregnancy. In addition to the need for nutritious food, psychological support is also very important. Often the only remaining social safety net for women is maintained thanks to the work of Olo practitioners in the field. On the phone or in person, their presence is reassuring and essential.”
Élise Boyer, General Manager, Fondation Olo
“In times of crisis, we must pay particular attention to psychological health. The context of the pandemic could lead to families breaking up. There is more anxiety as families are together 24 hours a day. There may be no school, no daycare and less support from immediate family due to social distancing. As practitioners, we must be aware and more attentive to signs of distress.”
Hélène Roy, Olo practitioner, nutritionist at the CIUSSS de l’Estrie-CHUS
The Fondation Lucie et André Chagnon along with the Québec Blue Cross, IGA merchants, Marchés Tradition, Marché Bonichoix, RICARDO Media and Cogeco Media were among the first partners to announce generous donations to the emergency fundraising campaign.
Donate: because expectant mothers should never go hungry!