West Virginia’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), within the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ Bureau for Public Health, announced in a news release that the U.S. Congress has extended funding for enhanced WIC benefits through Sept. 30 for the purchase of fresh, frozen, and canned fruit and vegetables.
As part of the federal enhanced WIC benefits, children receive $24 per month, pregnant and postpartum participants receive $43 per month, and breastfeeding women receive $47 per month. Without the federal enhanced increase, the benefits are usually $9 for children, $11 for pregnant and postpartum, and $16.50 for breastfeeding women.
“The WIC benefit increase is one of the most effective investments that helps children get a healthy start,” said Heidi Staats, director of the West Virginia WIC program. “WIC families want healthier options for their children. In West Virginia, we collaborate with our retail business partners to highlight the nutritious options and enhanced WIC benefits that not only help families but also stimulate local economies.”
The WIC cash value benefit increase has resulted in more than triple the amount of fruit and vegetable purchases in retail locations, a greater variety of produce redeemed by WIC families and increased fruit and vegetable consumption for young children. WIC has provided enhanced fruit and vegetable benefits to more than 32,000 West Virginia women and children.
To continue these great outcomes, the West Virginia WIC Program has partnered with authorized WIC retailers to highlight fresh, frozen and canned fruit and vegetable options available for purchase with WIC benefits. WIC branded cooler and floor decals share the message of “Up with Fruits and Veggies.” Retailers may request additional decals from the WIC Vendor Management Unit by calling 304-558-1115 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
WIC provides nutrition counseling, parenting advice, breastfeeding support, food assistance and referral support to help families live healthier lives. WIC services are free for pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women and children up to the age of five. Learn more and apply at dhhr.wv.gov/WIC.