WIC program benefits women and children

By Erin Ellis, RN - Sampson County Health Department

WIC is a federal funded program that serves pregnant and postpartum women, infants and children up to age 5 years.

The WIC program provides a combination of nutrition counseling and education, supplemental foods, breastfeeding promotion and support, and referrals to health care.

Studies have shown that the WIC program plays a vital role in improving birth outcomes. Pregnant women on WIC have fewer premature births, longer pregnancies, lower incidents of low birth weight babies, as well as, fewer infant deaths. Other studies have shown improved diet outcomes in children and their parents, infant feeding practices, regular schedule of immunization rates, and improved cognitive development for young children whose mothers participated in the WIC program.

This program is separate from food stamps and only nutritious foods are offered such as: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, yogurt, and low fat milk.

North Carolina WIC Programs have moved from a paper based method of WIC benefit issuance to an electronic benefit transfer system (eWIC). Instead of paper food instruments, WIC food benefits are issued into an electronic benefits account at the local WIC clinic. Families use their eWIC card and PIN to access their food benefits at authorized vendors. Each family is issued one card, except foster children receive their own eWIC card. Participants buy only the foods they need when they shop. A receipt is given that shows the account balance and the dates to buy their WIC foods. Clients are also able to use an app on their phone to see if foods are WIC approved. Sampson County is currently using eWIC.

To apply for WIC the applicant must meet all of the eligibility requirements, which includes: Categorical, Residential, Income, and Nutrition Risk. WIC is an equal opportunity provider.

WIC is so much more than people realize, the nutrition education and healthy foods that are provided really give children a healthy start in life, which is so important. “Good food and good advice”, that’s what WIC is all about.

The WIC Program is available at the Sampson County Health Department at 360 County Complex Road, Suite 200, Clinton, NC 28328. You may apply Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information about WIC or to make an appointment please call 910-592-1131.

By Erin Ellis, RN

Sampson County Health Department