The Food for Thought program in Saskatoon recently received recognition from Canada’s Minister of Health on 25 years as a successful community-based program.
Food for Thought, a member of the Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program (CPNP), offers prenatal and early childhood programming. It provides important support during a critical period for mothers and their families by establishing a healthy start and influencing their lifelong health.
With COVID-19 restrictions, the team has worked in creative ways to meet food insecurity needs and improve nutrition with home delivery of food hampers, milk coupons, fruit /vegetable and egg vouchers for CHEP markets. Normally, women come together to cook low-cost nutritious food to take home to share with their families. The program covers topics such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, nutrition, mental health, relationships, and childbirth all facilitated alongside Peer Leaders in the group. The Peer Leader model has been nationally recognized for fostering ownership, improved health of participants, their children, growing leaders and community commitment.
“The program is committed to engaging high numbers of Indigenous women and provides regular programming that targets immigrant and refugees in the community,” states Jacki Veregin, Primary Health Care Manager. “The overarching value of respect and a friendly non-threatening environment is key. It allows participants to meet other individuals with similar issues and openly discuss concerns. Every participant has incredible gifts to offer and the team supports them to realize their core potential through the prenatal journey.”
Food for Thought has built many strong community partnerships including those with Saskatoon Open Door Society, West Side Community Clinic, KidsFirst, Mental Health & Additions Services, and many of the primary health care programs based out of West Winds Primary Health Centre. These partners take an active role alongside staff, participants and Peer Leaders in planning, designing, implementing and evaluating the program.