As part of her statewide Nurture NJ campaign to improve maternal and infant health, First Lady Tammy Murphy hosted a Family Festival on Saturday, March 2, at Octavius V. Catto Family School in Camden. In January, at Cooper University Health Care in Camden, the First Lady unveiled a sweeping commitment to raise awareness of and work to combat the state’s high maternal and infant mortality rates. On average, new mothers in New Jersey are dying at a faster rate than the rest of the nation. For mothers and babies of color, the issue is even more dire as New Jersey has the widest racial disparity in the country.
Over 100 providers, including Rutgers Cooperative Extension’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed), participated in this event, promoting programming that incorporates health, wellness, nutrition, and local foods to support Camden families and organizations. The First Lady, Christine Norbut Beyer, Commissioner of New Jersey Department of Children and Families, and Camden County Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez stopped by the EFNEP and SNAP-Ed table.
A component of the Nurture NJ campaign, the Family Festivals connect parents and caregivers with state, county, and local resources, creating a comprehensive approach to access care, support, resources, and relief. Attendees have access to prenatal care and doulas, blood pressure and sugar screenings, parent support groups, eye exams, pediatric services, mental health and addiction services, energy assistance programs, day care centers, food and housing assistance programs, and more. Camden’s Family Festival was the third held in the state, with previous festivals held in Paterson and Trenton.