August 6, 2019
For women dealing with addictions, mental health concerns, poverty or other issues, keeping the cupboards at home full of healthy food isn’t as easy. That’s where McMan Calgary & Area comes in.
“The McMan Parent Child Assistance Program (PCAP) helps support women who are pregnant or six months postpartum, and who have admitted to drug and alcohol use,” says Heather Warren, Program Manager, McMan Youth, Family and Community Services. “The primary goal of the PCAP is to prevent future births of alcohol and drug exposed children. This evidence-based model targets the prevention of FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) through intensive supports delivered over a three year period. As part of PCAP, our hamper program steps in where the food bank may leave off, providing food and other necessities like diapers, formula to over 100 women each year.”
Calgary Co-op has been supporting the hamper program with a donation of $50,000. The funds are used for emergency hampers, which are an additional resource available to these women when other community supports are not an option.
“We customize the hampers for the individual needs of each woman and her family with the purpose of providing fresh and nutritious foods,” Warren explains. “Our staff are intentional in purchasing ingredients as opposed to ready to eat meals, as this provides families an opportunity to connect through cooking together.”
“There’s still a lot of need in Calgary,” acknowledges Co-op’s Penney McTaggart Cowan, Vice President of Marketing and Member Experiences. “We try to identify organizations in the community that need help, like McMan, and do what we can to support them and their clients so that ultimately they can get back on their feet.”
McMan Calgary & Area supports vulnerable children, youth and families with complex needs that can include mental health issues, addiction, homelessness, poverty and disability. The PCAP program is voluntary and works with the women to rebuild their relationships, support networks, and to potentially regain custody of their children.
“These women are amazing; they’re actively trying to get better and improve their lives. We have been so pleased and so very excited to have this support from Co-op and its members,” says Warren. “For some of our women, these donations can bring them to tears. So many of them have exhausted their resources or are no longer receiving other assistance such as child support and they just don’t know how they’ll feed their child. The women are so very grateful to have this help. It means a lot.”
Warren says the PCAP program has been very successful in supporting vulnerable women to make healthier choices. Of their clients in the last year, over 80% of women have begun practicing effective birth control, 95% of women did not have a second pregnancy, and of those who did have babies, the program has also had success in preventing the mothers from using drugs or alcohol during their pregnancy.
“These emergency food hampers would not be possible without community donors like Co-op. This contribution means we’ll be able to provide close to 180 more hampers for PCAP and keep this vital service during a time that families are struggling more than ever due to economic conditions in our province.”
To learn more about the McMan Parent Child Assistance Program, visit their website.
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