According to the WIC website: “WIC provides Federal grants to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.”
I was browsing their site- trying to really break down the information and I found it a bit difficult to understand- but it is a government program and since when are things run by the government easy to understand (believe me- I know- since we are in the process of adopting a child from our local county)? But I did see some interesting information that I really wanted to dig deeper to fill you all in.
As said above WIC is a nutritional program for low income families that provides vouchers to exchange for certain healthful groceries, like milk and eggs.
But did you know that in addition to the regular WIC program there is a WIC Farmers market Nutrition Program (FMNP) for both low income mothers and infants as well all low income Seniors? This farmers market program provides fresh fruits and vegetables to all those who qualify (check the WIC site for qualifications). If you do qualify you will be issued FMNP certificates to use at participating Farmers Market Locations in exchange for yummy, fresh locally grown produce. Now I think this is a really cool program that more people should know about. What a great way to be able to eat organic, sustainable food even if you are on a very small budget.
Ok- you are thinking, “How do I know if I qualify for WIC or the FMNP and if so how do I sign up?”
a. Check your qualifications
1. Are you a low income (see the site for income requirements) mother, pregnant mother, and have children up to 5 years old?
2. or are you a low income Senior?
3. Do you or your children have possible nutritional risk? (Your diets are poor because of lack of income.)
b. Call or contact your State Agency by going to this page on the WIC website. Many of them have not only have phone numbers to call for information but also their own web pages and direct emails. After you call your local agency and set up a time to come in they will provide you will the appropriate paperwork to fill out. You will need to bring the following information with your to your appointment: Your own identification, Your child’s identification and proof of age, proof of your income, proof of your residence, your children’s immunization records, and if you are pregnant a statement from your doctor of your due date. I would recommend asking the Agency what paperwork qualifies for the above and if there is anything else you need to bring.
c. Assessment- again, being a government agency not much is easy. You or your children will need to be assessed for your need- This most likely means bringing yourself and your children with you to an assessment appointment which will include a quick physical. You will have one of these physicals as part of your qualification and one probably every 6 months you are part of the program.
d. Using your Vouchers- After you qualify you will receive vouchers to exchange for groceries like (but not limited to) milk, eggs, beans, cereal, and juice at your local grocery store and fresh produce if you qualify for the FNMP program.
So there is a quick overview- I’m sure it nowhere encompasses the full details of the WIC program. But I hope it was a enough to pique your interest. If any of you out there would like to fill us in more- please do. We would love to know the full details about feeding children better.
You can also check out our post on Free Online Summer Camp (Or Inexpensive) for low cost activities for your kids.
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