One of the amazing things about working with North York Harvest is getting the chance to meet so many different people in our community. Earlier this week I took the time to visit the Jane St. Hub and meet with Kathryn Walton.
Every week there is a drop in program, “Jane St. Hub Prenatal Nutrition Program” for women hoping to learn about having healthy pregnancy, including improving their access to healthy food. These women get together for a chance to meet other pregnant people, have a snack, discuss issues relevant to pregnancy and access the food bank. Kathryn has worked with the prenatal program there for 2 years as a Registered Dietitian and assists these women with all of their needs involving nutrition.
I popped into the program right before their group chat began and met up with Kathryn in the kitchen. She was busy at work preparing snacks and a hot meal for the women to enjoy while having drop in.
“Some of these women haven’t eaten all day and it really means a lot to them to come in and have a hot meal waiting for them,” Kathryn tells me.
The food bank runs out of the small kitchen and provides extra food for the women to feed themselves and their families. One thing I absolutely loved was the thoughtful and educational notes that Kathryn makes to go along with the food bank items. These lovely notes contain messages about nutrition info and tips to prepare food bank items at home.
As part of the educational aspect of the prenatal program, Kathryn motivates the women to pay attention to proper nutrition. The women love learning about nutrition labels on foods as well as how to prepare the items from the food bank. “Some items will go untouched in the program simply because the women don’t know what to do with them. So I’ll discuss what options they have and how to easily make a healthy meal using the item”. Sometimes Kathryn will have food demos in the kitchen using canned items such as beans, tomatoes or salmon to prepare the group meal.
“Education about proper diet and nutrition really sets the stage for a lifetime of healthy food choices.” Kathryn says.
It was such a nice experience taking the time to visit with Kathryn, the clients and the other women working in the program. It is so great to know that regardless of someone’s income or circumstances in life, they are able to access these kinds of programs.
Without you programs like this would not be possible!
Your support touches the lives of others in many ways and can prepare people and their children for a lifetime of healthy choices.