Operation Food Search Introduces New Fresh Rx Program

St. Louis non-profit organization to enable healthier pregnancies via fresh food initiative

Online PR News – 02-February-2019 – St. Louis, MO – Operation Food Search (OFS) recently introduced Fresh Rx: Nourishing Healthy Starts, a new fresh food prescription program. This is the only food-as-medicine program in existence that addresses food insecurity during pregnancy. The goal is to provide low-income women the experience of healthier pregnancies and healthy babies.

The program has received a four-year grant from Monsanto Fund, a philanthropic arm of Bayer. Additional project funders include Anthem Foundation, Episcopal Presbyterian Health Trust, and Wallace Center at Winrock International. Primary partners include Fair Shares Combined Community Supported Agriculture (CCSA) and the OB Care Center at SSM Health DePaul Hospital-St. Louis, a full-service prenatal care facility.

Fresh Rx was created to eliminate food insecurity during pregnancy, producing better birth outcomes for moms and babies. Women who screen positive for food insecurity at their prenatal care appointment will be enrolled in the Fresh Rx: Nourishing Healthy Starts program which includes:

• a weekly share of local protein, dairy, grain and produce for the entire household provided by OFS' partners at Fair Shares CCSA and their network of 80 local farmers;
• one-on-one nutrition consultations with OFS' Fresh Rx Dietitian;
• in-home and online nutrition and cooking tutorials from OFS' Fresh Rx Community Chef;
• culinary skills and nutrition education classes, as well as Cooking Matters at the Store where participants learn how to be savvy shoppers during an interactive grocery store tour; and
• supportive services and community resources - including financial counseling, workforce development and diaper assistance - from Fresh Rx Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).

Research shows that food insecurity during pregnancy is associated with the development of gestational diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, and higher levels of stress and depression. Babies born to food insecure mothers are more likely to exhibit low birth weight, birth defects, and developmental delays.

"Pregnancy and the postpartum period are critical times for women to receive the best nutrition available for both themselves and their babies," said OFS' Director of Strategic Initiatives Lucinda Perry. "Fresh Rx is the perfect opportunity for our agency to make a difference in their lives by ensuring the healthiest start for everyone involved."

Founded in 1981, Operation Food Search (OFS) is a hunger relief organization that provides food and nutrition education. With a strategic focus aimed at ending childhood hunger, OFS empowers families with a range of programs and services proven to reduce food insecurity and increase access to healthy and affordable food. The agency helps feed more than 200,000 individuals on a monthly basis - one-third of which are children - through a network of 330 community partners in 31 Missouri and Illinois counties.

Operation Food Search is located at 1644 Lotsie Blvd. For more information, call (314) 726-5355 or visit http://www.OperationFoodSearch.org or http://www.OFSFreshRx.org.