This isn’t true for all expectant mothers. In the U.S. alone, 25% of pregnant women experience limited access to prenatal vitamins and minerals due to gaps in insurance coverage during pregnancy. And although moms everywhere share a goal to make a better life for their children, sometimes location, finances or a basic lack of information can mean the difference between healthy pregnancies and health disparities.
Enter Vitamin Angels and Walgreens Boots Alliance, which announced this week that more than 300 million women and children in the U.S. and in 65 countries around the world have received life-changing vitamins and minerals throughout their eight-year partnership. The two also announced a new goal: Reaching 500 million women and children by 2025.
King, best known for her role in “How to Get Away with Murder,” sat down with Walgreens Stories to talk more about why this cause is so important to her—and why it should be to everyone.
Congratulations on the birth of your son! What’s been your biggest learning as you’ve taken on this new leading role as Mom?
Aja Naomi King: Thank you! We are so happy and so grateful for our little boy. Our journey to becoming pregnant wasn’t as easy as I hoped it would be, which is the case for countless parents-to-be. We experienced two miscarriages, which forced me to investigate what was happening within my body in order to become pregnant. It was an experience that filled me with so much doubt and fear. Now that I’m a mom, the greatest thing I’ve learned is to trust my instincts as a mother, trust my husband and our chosen community, and, most importantly, trust and appreciate where this journey has taken me. I’ve also learned to release my desire for control and just savor this present moment.
With the help of customers just like you, we’ve been able to help 300 million moms and children so far. What made you want to get involved?
King: After going through pregnancy, I have a deeper understanding of how important it is for expecting moms to have prenatal vitamins so they can give their baby the greatest chance at a healthy start in life. Everyone should have access to these vital nutrients, and I am so moved by the aim and success of Walgreens and Vitamin Angels to do exactly that—to provide what is most necessary to children and expectant mothers all over the world.
What does it mean to you to be able to advocate for more healthy starts for more women and children?
King: It has given me such joy to become a mother, and the access I had to vitamins and minerals throughout my pregnancy is a significant factor in the health of my baby. This is an experience I want every parent to have. Being able to help spread the word and better advocate for those in need is a valuable opportunity. To be able to promote taking vitamins for your health, and to know that with each vitamin purchase you are further providing someone else—someone in need—access to these necessary nutrients that have a tremendous impact on their life and health, is in full alignment with the kind of impact I believe makes the world better for all.
One of the goals of this partnership is promoting equitable access to healthcare and nutrition. Why is this important to you?
King: Because it should be important to everyone. The gap in access to necessary healthcare is astonishingly wide, and for a child it can be the difference in how you start your life. A simple gesture, like buying vitamins as you would on any given day at Walgreens, can directly impact the future of a child. That’s powerful.
A vitamin purchase at Walgreens helps moms and babies get the nutrition they need to thrive. What would you say to others about the impact they can make?
King: Until I became pregnant, I didn’t fully realize just how essential the nutrients in my body were, not only for sustaining my own health, but also creating the necessary foundation for the health of my child. So many nutrients are required to fully sustain the health of your baby, even starting before you get pregnant, and by purchasing your vitamins at Walgreens, you are helping to do just that.
As you’re shopping our vitamin aisle, what else catches your eye? Give us a peek at what we’d find in your Walgreens basket.
King: Other than vitamins, you’d typically see L’Oréal mascara—I can’t help it, I love buying makeup!—batteries, greeting cards and pens in my Walgreens basket.
Through WBA’s partnership with Vitamin Angels, 1% of retail sales of select vitamins and supplements sold at Walgreens and on Walgreens.com helps at-risk populations in need—specifically pregnant women, new mothers and children under 5. Visit Walgreens.com/VitaminAngels to learn more, purchase your favorite vitamins and help make a difference today.