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What Is WIC

WIC stands for Women, Infants and Children. It is a federal program that provides food to low-income pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants and children up to the age of five. The WIC program, also known as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program, provides nutrition education, supplemental foods, breastfeeding promotion and support, and referrals for health care. WIC has proven effective in preventing and improving nutrition related health problems within its population.

The program is available in all 50 states, 34 Indian Tribal Organizations, American Samoa, District of Columbia, Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. These 90 local state agencies administer the WIC program through approximately 1,836 local agencies and 9,000 WIC clinic sites. Examples of where WIC services are provided:

  • Schools
  • County health departments
  • Hospitals
  • Community centers
  • Public housing sites
  • Migrant health centers and camps
  • Mobile clinics (Ex: Vans)
  • Indian Health Service facilities

In most states WIC participants receive checks or vouchers to purchase groceries from a WIC approved food list each month. These foods are designed to supplement their diets with nutrients that benefit the target population. Some states have now moved to using an EBT card.

These cards act like a normal debit card, which makes it easier to purchase your food at your local grocery store and each month you receive your WIC benefits on your card through the electronic benefit transfer system. There are a few state agencies that still distribute foods through a warehouse, or delivery directly to your house.

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