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Gem City Market launches weekly community program for new and expecting mothers

Gem City Market began accepting WIC vouchers for qualifying purchases. It also launched Mamas at the Market, a program in collaboration with Public Health Dayton and Montgomery County.
Alejandro Figueroa
/
WYSO
Gem City Market began accepting WIC vouchers for qualifying purchases. It also launched Mamas at the Market, a program in collaboration with Public Health Dayton and Montgomery County.

The Gem City Market launched Mamas at the Market on Thursday. The program provides community resources to new and expecting mothers. One of them being helping eligible women sign up for WIC benefits at the market.

For new mothers receiving federal assistance through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants & Children, figuring out what foods are eligible can be difficult. Advocates say consistent access to health and nutrition resources can be challenging too on a limited income.

That’s why the Gem City Market — which recently began accepting WIC vouchers— partnered with Public Health Dayton and Montgomery County, Mamas at the Market. The program aims to support infant vitality through community resources.

Some of those resources include a partnership with Dayton Cooks — a culinary service that provides cooking training at no cost. Instructors will teach new mothers food recipes they can cook with products eligible under WIC in the market's community kitchen.

Jericia Colvin is part of a doula collaborative in Dayton called Tribe. She is with another organization that partnered with Mamas at the Market. Colvin said creating an appropriate birth plan is key for a successful pregnancy.

“We are here to provide moms with spiritual, emotional and physical support during labor," she said. "So making sure that they are informed about their body, teaching them how to have a voice and educating them on pregnancy.”

Emma Smales, the birth outcomes manager at Public Health Dayton and Montgomery County, said more access to resources means better health outcomes early on for new mothers.

“We know that providing nutritious food during pregnancy is important. It can prevent things like hypertension or gestational diabetes. And when we prevent those things, it means healthy births and lower our maternal mortality rate” Smales said.

According to Data.Ohio.gov, there are more than 280,000 Ohioans enrolled in Medicaid and SNAP who may also be eligible to receive WIC benefits but there are limitations. In Ohio, WIC is available to families with a household income 185% below the federal poverty line.

To help facilitate the application process there will be case workers from Public Health will be at the market health clinic to sign up new participants and provide assistance in shopping.

Mamas at the Market will be held every Thursday at the Gem City Market. There’s more information at Public Health Dayton and Montgomery County and Gem City Market.

Alejandro Figueroa is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Support for WYSO's reporting on food and food insecurity in the Miami Valley comes from the CareSource Foundation.