WIC (The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program Women, Infants, and Children) is a program that provides supplemental nutrition for women who: are pregnant; have had a baby in the last 6 months; are breastfeeding and have had a baby in the last 12 months; are an infant or a child up to 5 years of age. To be eligible, the child or mother must: live in the state of North Carolina, live in a household with an income at or below 185% of the Federal poverty income guidelines, and have or be at risk of developing a nutrition-related problem. A person receiving Medicaid, Work First Families Assistance (TANF), or assistance from the NC Food and Nutrition Services (SNAP benefits) automatically meets the income eligibility requirement.
According to a study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, infants who did not receive WIC assistance were more likely to be underweight, short (length-for-age), and perceived as having fair or poor health when compared with those that received WIC assistance. It also showed that families who did not receive WIC assistance due to access problems had higher rates of food insecurity when compared to WIC participants. For young children, a lack of good nutrition can put them at risk for health problems and problems in school. WIC has been shown to lower the anemia rates of children (6 months to 5 years) and lead to higher rates of immunizations against childhood disease.
WIC participants can now buy organic foods in all WIC approved categories, such as milk, cheese, eggs, peanut butter, and baby food in addition to fruit and vegetables. WIC families also can buy brown eggs and specialty eggs like cage-free, stress-free, free-range, vitamin-enriched, antibiotic-free, vegetarian-fed-hen, no-growth hormones, and fertile eggs. Cheese is now available in 8 oz as well as 16 oz packages. Forms include snack, cubed, shaped, crumbled, strips, sticks, diced, grated, string, or shredded cheese in addition to the block and sliced cheeses. Participants with smart phones may download an app that allows them to scan the food barcodes in the grocery aisle. The system will tell the participant whether a food is allowed on their personal food package, eliminating confusion and surprises at checkout. Our families continue to tell us that eWIC is faster and more convenient than the paper checks!
In addition to providing nutritious foods, WIC also provides nutrition and physical activity education, breastfeeding promotion/support, eating tips for mother/child, one-on-one nutrition counseling, as well as referrals to other health care services (Immunization Services, Prenatal Care, Well Child Health Care) and public assistance programs (Food and Nutrition Services, Medicaid, Potential Sources for Food Assistance). After receiving nutrition information, participants receive benefits on their ecard that can be used to purchase food at locally owned stores, retail grocery stores, and pharmacies. WIC promotes healthy habits that encourage mothers to breastfeed, make family meals matter, and make overall healthier food choices.
Caldwell County’s WIC breastfeeding support team understands the benefits and explains the basics of breastfeeding to expectant mothers. After speaking with members of our breastfeeding team, mothers have useful information to make informed decisions about how to properly feed their infants. They offer suggestions about how to continue breastfeeding upon returning to work or school, in addition to answering questions regarding breastfeeding.
For more information about WIC or to make an appointment please call Caldwell County WIC located at 2345 Morganton Blvd SW, Lenoir, NC 28645 at 828-426-8407. The clinic is open Monday through Thursday, 7:30am-5:30pm and Friday 7:30am-12 noon. You may also visit the WIC website at www.nutritionnc.com to learn more about WIC.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.