WIC – Supporting Strong Women and Their Families

— Written By Marcus McFarland and last updated by Elisabeth Purser
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March is a celebration of the hard-working and amazing women with Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day on March 8th. This month is a great time to talk about a wonderful program that has and continues to support women raising happy and healthy families. That program is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children, or simply WIC. WIC is a federally funded program that provides financial assistance with procuring nutrient-rich food items for limited-resourced expecting mothers and their children.

The original WIC program began in 1972 as a 2-year pilot program and was added as an amendment to the Child Nutrition Act of 1966. The program was inspired by a need to fight family malnutrition amplified by civil right advocacy for low-income peoples. The program used a voucher system for providing expectant mothers and their children with adequate nutritious foods.

Today, the USDA reports that the WIC program serves communities in all 50 states, 34 Native American Tribal Organizations, all American territories, and the District of Columbia. Eligible participants include pregnant and postpartum breastfeeding mothers, infants, and children up to the age of 5. Many WIC programs offer referral programs for health screenings and education on breastfeeding and nutrition. Some items that are WIC-approved foods include, iron-fortified adult cereal, infant cereal, infant formula, fruit and vegetable juices, legumes, and whole grain items. 

For more information about the WIC program and how to access support, contact your local health department, division of social services, health and human services, or Indian Health Services. Together we can support strong women in growing and sustaining healthy families!

Check out these videos to learn more about WIC: