WIC is a supplemental food and nutrition program for women, infants and children. It provides a nutritious food package for pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women at a special time in their life.
It also provides food packages for infants and children up to 5 years of age. The program is available through your local county health department.
WIC foods include infant cereal, iron-fortified adult cereal, vitamin C-rich fruit or vegetable juice, eggs, milk, cheese, peanut butter, dried beans/peas and iron-fortified infant formula for those infants not breastfed.
Soy-based beverages, tofu, fruits and vegetables, baby foods, whole-wheat bread, and other whole-grain options were recently added to the food package. Breast-feeding support and counseling is provided for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Participants must meet the gross income guidelines (at or below 185 percent of the U.S. Poverty Income Guidelines) and be assessed for nutritional risk. A family of two can have a monthly income of $2,247 and a family of three can make income of $2,823 per month, while a family of four can earn $3,400 per month.
Monthly food vouchers and cash value vouchers for fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables are issued to the participants to buy WIC approved foods. Nutrition information and suggestions on how to use WIC foods are also provided.
A person who participates or has a family member who participates in other assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid TennCare, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, automatically meets the income eligibility requirement.
A nutritional need is determined by a health professional. Two types of nutritional risk determine if a person is eligible. One is a medically-based risk such as anemia, underweight, overweight, history of pregnancy complications, or poor pregnancy outcomes.
The other is nutritionally based such as failure to meet dietary guidelines, consuming too much or too little of certain nutrients, or consuming raw foods.
To apply for the WIC Program or for more information, call the Bradley County Health Department at 728-7020 for an appointment.