White Cloud Foundation’s Meals for Mums service, which first launched into the northern suburbs of Brisbane in 2016, continues to grow at a rapid pace.
The service, which provides nutritious home-delivered meals to new or expecting mothers (or fathers) struggling with perinatal depression, soon increased to cover all of Brisbane, Logan, the Gold Coast and Ipswich. It then launched in Townsville in late 2020 and, as of March this year, has expanded to Toowoomba and the Darling Downs.
Thanks to some grant funding from Queensland Health, corporate sponsors and our own fundraising heroes, there are now plans in place to launch the Meals for Mums service into other regional areas of Queensland by the end of 2021. These regions include Mackay, Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay and Cairns.
To access this service, mothers must be referred by a health care provider (either their local hospital, GP or other clinical care giver). White Cloud Foundation currently works with 16 major hospital and over 50 other health services to ensure our meals reach mothers in need.
Referrals to the service have also signicantly increased due to COVID-19. This heightened demand reflects the increased incidence of perinatal depression and anxiety due to isolation from support systems because of border closures, husbands losing jobs, financial pressures, and general anxiety about catching the virus.
Perinatal depression is a very serious condition, affecting up to one in five new or expecting mothers and one in ten new or expecting fathers. It can affect around 100,000 Australian families each year.
Left untreated, it can have a devastating impact. Sadly, suicide is actually the leading cause of death in women during the postpartum period.
White Cloud certainly recognises the importance of giving support to mothers. If a mother is unwell, their whole family and often the wider community are impacted. A strong mother is also vital to the healthy, emotional, physical, and behavioural development of their newborn child.
Our Meals for Mums program is designed to support them during the vulnerable period while they are pregnant and in the 12 months following birth. The service provides nutritional support while relieving the pressure of having to shop and prepare food.
In the 12 months ending 31 December 2020, White Cloud Foundation assisted 473 mothers and their families and delivered in excess of 9,800 meals. As of 31 May, just under 4,000 meals had been delivered to 255 mothers in so far in 2021.