4 Little-Known Perks of WIC Benefits

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  • WIC is a program that offers nutrition assistance to pregnant and postpartum women and young children.
  • But it offers additional benefits besides food, including education and coupons.

The program offers a lot more than just food.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is one of the most successful federally funded nutrition programs in the country, helping millions of families since its inception in 1974. Many people know that it provides food assistance to low-income pregnant and postpartum women and children under five years of age. But the program actually offers a bunch of lesser-known benefits as well. Here are four you may not be familiar with.

1. Breastfeeding education and support

The WIC program offers a number of online resources to help women who are interested in breastfeeding their babies. These include educational articles, videos, and courses. There are also resources for grandparents and partners who want to learn how to provide support to those breastfeeding.

The program also provides women with free breast pumps in many cases, along with advice on how to pump and store breast milk if they choose to do so.

2. Nutrition education

WIC recipients will complete a nutrition evaluation as part of their application process to determine their eligibility. Program coordinators then use this information to determine where a family needs help. Then, they tailor their teaching strategy to suit their target audience.

Nutrition counseling can come in the form of one-on-one discussions, but you can also find a lot of great advice on the program's website. In addition, some clinics offer classes on infant and child nutrition, nutrition during pregnancy, stages of child development, and more.

3. Coupons for fresh, locally grown produce

The WIC program's Project FRESH provides recipients with coupons they can use each year to purchase fresh, locally grown produce from farmers, farmers markets, or roadside stands. These coupons are available to adults and children participating in the WIC program, but not for infants.

This program isn't available everywhere, so check with your WIC program coordinator to learn if this is an option for you. In addition, not all farmers or farmers markets participate in this program, so it's important to check that yours does before making any purchases. This is a great way to stock up on seasonal fruits and veggies at a price that's easier on your bank account.

4. Referrals to other services

As part of the WIC application process, program coordinators will screen you and help you identify other programs that could help improve your family's health and finances. These include:

Taking advantage of these additional resources, as necessary, can make a significant difference to parents and children over the long term. If you qualify for any other services, your WIC program coordinator can help you figure out what you need to do to apply for these benefits.

The WIC program only provides assistance for a short period of time, so it's best to take full advantage of it while you can. If you have any questions about the services described above or the program in general, don't hesitate to reach out to your program coordinator to learn more.

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