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Grantee Stories


Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center program to improve food access and mental health among food-insecure, postpartum women

In 2021, The Amarillo Area Foundation and the Don and Sybil Harrington Foundation granted TTUHSC $200,000.

TTUHSC Amarillo Grant Request

  • The aim of this program is to improve food access and mental health among food-insecure postpartum women. The long-term goal of this program is to develop a scalable, sustainable community-based program that directly improves mental and physical health outcomes for mothers and their children.
  • Therapeutic meals have been shown to improve health outcomes and reduce hospital admissions among medically vulnerable populations, but have not been tried among postpartum mothers – a population at high risk for physical and mental health problems. The meal intervention arm of the study partners with the local community-based program, Nutrition4Change (a subsidiary of SnackPak4Kids), to extend daily meals to postpartum mothers.
  • The expectation is that mothers who receive the interventions of the MommaMeals program will experience lower rates of depression and anxiety, improved maternal weight status, and appropriate infant growth and development. Secondary outcomes include improved self-efficacy, breastfeeding rates, and other potential health indicators. The team of investigators combines rigorous methodologic training, nutrition expertise, and clinical experience with an innovative research agenda. This is the first program to implement medically-tailored meals in the post-partum period and will not only impact the recipient’s health but potentially that of their offspring.

The project has four objectives:

1)     Assess the local feasibility of home-delivered, nutrient-dense meals for mothers with food insecurity in the immediate post-partum period.

2)     Determine whether the duration of daily meal provision (2 vs 8 weeks) impacts the maternal mental health and nutritional status of the mother and infant.

3)     Understand mothers’ perceptions of receiving a daily prepared meal and/or peer support groups in the postpartum period.

4)     Examine how peer support in the postpartum period is associated with mental health outcomes among postpartum mothers and health and development in infants.

Recruitment and onboarding of essential personnel: 

  • 5 Doctoral of Physical Therapy Students at TTUHSC Amarillo Campus were recruited to deliver the MamaMeals intervention to participants, with a start date of June 1st.
  • 4 Clinical Mental Health Counseling students were recruited to facilitate and moderate the MamaMatters support intervention (several others are volunteering).

Intervention planning and logistics 

  • 18 mothers (7 of whom were Spanish-speaking) were recruited (October 2021 through February 2022) to provide feedback on the MamaMeals and/or MamaMatters interventions.
    • All of these women received at least 2 samples of the meals that will be used for the MamaMeals intervention. 
    • Findings were incorporated into the MWB study.
  • A 4-week test of the MamaMatters social media-based intervention was conducted with several mothers to work out logistics and troubleshoot problems prior to rolling out the full pilot study. 
    • A focus group was held to receive feedback from the test group participants.

Cactus Nazarene Ministry Center

In 2021, AAF granted CNMC $81,000 to expand its ESL program.
A letter from Denise Anderson, Immigration Services Director

This has been an exciting month for the ESL ministry. As the classes continue, I have met a few students who show excellent language growth and are motivated to pour back into the ministry. We now have two volunteers from the community helping with our classes. Herson is the new assistant in the Beginner class. He is from Guatemala and speaks Spanish and K’iche’ fluently. He lives here in Cactus with his wife and kids and comes to the office every day for English learning or to provide assistance. He joined classes in December 2021 and currently is at an intermediate level of English speaking, writing, and understanding. He comes to his classes and tutoring on Tuesdays and Thursdays but also comes in to assist me in the beginner classes on Mondays and Wednesdays. In the beginner class, it is useful for us to have Herson because there is a way for the students to understand better and ask questions if they are not sure how to in English.

We have another volunteer, Felipe, who joined us at the end of January. He is from Colombia and has been working on receiving a visa that can allow him to work as a Veterinarian. Meanwhile, he has eagerly offered to help us in any way in the office. One of our needs amongst most of the staff is to learn Spanish. Felipe has generously offered to teach a Spanish class twice a week. He has no experience teaching a language but has done a wonderful job and we always look forward to our Spanish classes with Felipe. He comes to the office, often to join English class as a student, then reverses roles and becomes a Spanish teacher to our staff here at CNMC. We are so blessed to have these two amazing volunteers involved in the ESL ministry. We hope to see more volunteers that have this level of motivation to better the classes here.