A program that helps women, babies and children is getting an electronic boost. These changes could make it easier for some low-income families to eat a healthy diet.
The Women, Infants, and Children Program, known as WIC, offers funds to buy nutritious foods for eligible women, who are pregnant, postpartum, and breast feeding as well as for their babies, and their children up to five years of age.
“Right now, our families receive three or four paper checks a month for each of their children. The food times that are listed on those, they have to use at the time. They use the check, so, for example, if there’s four half gallons of milk on there, they have to use all of that or else they lose it for the month,” explains Tracy Kelley, WIC Program Director for Blair and Centre Counties.
That’s slated to change on February 19, when WIC moves to an electronic benefit card.
Families will get all of their benefits for a month on the eWIC Card and use it throughout the month as they need it.
Kelley is encouraging current clients and those who think they might be eligible for the program to call and make an appointment to enroll for a new eWIC card.
She says, “Even if both parents are working, if it’s minimum wage jobs those dollars don’t stretch as far and we definitely can help families in those situations.”
Kelley adds that people who receive food stamps or medical assistance can also apply for WIC.
WIC income guidelines are at 185 percent of the poverty level or a $46,400 a year income for a family of four.
For more information on WIC, go to PAWIC.com or call 1-800-WIC-WINS.