Baker Lake Prenatal Nutrition Project: supporting new mothers in Nunavut for 25 years

The Baker Lake Prenatal Nutrition Project has been supporting new mothers and mothers-to-be in the remote Inuit community of Nunavut for 25 years.

When the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in the spring of 2020, prenatal and postnatal classes had to be put on hold, but the Project wanted to continue distributing food hampers.

Contents of a food hamper including milk, fruit, yogurt, cheese, granola bars.“There’s always a need for food here,” says coordinator Valerie Dorey. “The cost of food is so expensive, especially the fruits and vegetables. This is where we try to focus.”

Staff applied to the Canadian Red Cross for funding through the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund. In the months that have followed, they have used that funding to reach more women and families in the community of about 2,200 with nutritious food hampers, recipe kits, care packages and COVID-19-related information.

Traditional foods such as caribou are also included when available. “We try to provide what we call a ‘Basic Shelf Cookbook’,” says Dorey, “recipes that use ingredients that are readily available and not that expensive in case the women want to make the recipes again.”

Recipes added to boxes to be delivered to families in NunavutCooking utensils such as peelers, measuring cups, bowls and spoons round out the hamper, along with a sewing kit on how to make a bunting bag for their newborns.

“We really appreciate this funding,” says Dorey. “It has allowed us to expand our program and reach more families during a particularly difficult year.”

The Project also received personal protective equipment in the form of masks and gloves from the Red Cross. This allowed in-person pre- and postnatal classes to resume when safe to do so.

The Canadian Red Cross is funding the continuation of this work thanks to the generous support of the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund granting program.
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