The WIC (Women, Infant and Children ) program had 11,483 participants in Jackson County this fiscal year, through the Jackson County Health Department.
WIC – originally founded in 1972 as a pilot program, began operating in 45 states in 1974. WIC is a supplemental nutrition program that contributes to healthy pregnancies, healthy babies, and healthy children. The program is aimed at pregnant women, breastfeeding women, non-breast feeding women, infants and children up to the age of five.
The benefits of WIC is providing nutrition information to improve health, nutritious supplemental food and referral to dental, immunizations, MD referrals for low iron and underweight, and welfare and social services.
Kerri Metz, Nutrition Therapist serving Jackson, Beckham, Greer, Harmon and Tillman County Health Departments says “An ongoing misconception about WIC is that the program only provides formula for infants. Many families also don’t apply for WIC, because they feel their income is too high.” The WIC qualifications are you must live in state of Oklahoma, have a family income within program limits, provide proof of identification , income and address. If one receives Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps), or TANF Benefits they may be eligible.
Once you qualify for WIC, you receive food instruments or cash value benefits to use at the grocery store. The foods you will receive are to help the individual to promote and support positive nutritional eating. The food vouchers consist of healthy foods, cereal, whole grain options such as bread, tortillas, rice, and pasta , milk, cheese, eggs, peanut butter, juice, beans, fresh frozen fruits and vegetables, fish, tofu, baby food and infant cereal.
The Jackson County Health Department does outreach work by posting WIC posters in the community, educating headstarts, and participating in local health fairs.
In May of 2015, a breast feeding peer counselor became an added benefit to the local WIC program. The counselor helps mothers to feel comfortable discussing breast feeding topics and concerns, and serves as a mentor and friend. The counselor is also bilingual, which helps reach the large Hispanic population.
In August, the first Breast Feeding Reception was hosted at the health department. The event was led by mothers to observe “World Breast Feeding Week” and was extremely successful. The JCHD plans to continue with future similar events.
Another valuable benefit to WIC participants is the nutrition education and counseling, the breast feeding one-on-one assistance, and the breast pumps and supplies. Appointments with the breast feeding peer counselor, are on campus and cost-free.
To apply for WIC contact Jackson County Health Department at 580-482-7308, or go by the Jackson County Health Department at 401 West Tamarack, or email Kerri Metz, Nutrition Therapist at [email protected]
Look for the next JCHD services story on Local Emergency Response Manner.
Reach Mary at 580-482-1221 ext. 2077