ALBANY — To increase enrollment in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) in New York State (NYS), Hunger Solutions New York announced it has been selected by the New York State Department of Health to implement a new program called WIC Help NY.
The WIC Help NY program will conduct targeted outreach in counties where WIC enrollment is less than 50 percent of the eligible population, and refer potentially eligible women and children to the NYS WIC Program. Hunger Solutions New York awarded contracts to community-based organizations to deliver WIC Help NY program services in twenty targeted counties. Each community- based organization, will employ a WIC Help Specialist to help connect potentially eligible pregnant women, new mothers, and children under age 5 to the to the WIC program.
The NYS WIC program provides breastfeeding support, healthy food, nutrition advice, health education, and referrals to other services, to approximately 400,000 women, infants and children each month through 91 local providers (hospitals, local health departments, and community-based organizations) at 400 service sites.
The fundamental purpose of the program is to ensure the health and well-being of income eligible families with young children. WIC provides monthly benefits for individually tailored food packages for specific types and brands of food that meet federal nutrition requirements. These food benefits can be redeemed at approximately 3,000 authorized retail food vendors across the state.
According to The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report: WIC Works: Addressing the Nutrition and Health Needs of Low-Income Families for 40 Years, food insecurity in infancy and early childhood can affect children’s brain development and have long-term health impacts. WIC participation is associated with healthier births, improved birth weights, reduced risk of infant mortality, better infant-feeding practices, more nutritious diets, better access to primary and preventive health care, healthier neighborhood food environments and improved cognitive development and academic achievement in childhood.
“WIC is an incredibly successful program for moms, babies, and families. Participating in WIC can give women the support and help they need to ensure a healthier start for themselves and their children. Dads, grandparents and other caregivers should know that WIC can support infants and children in their care,” said Linda Bopp, Executive Director of Hunger Solutions New York. “We are excited to be selected by the NYS Department of Health to expand outreach and access to WIC, which is an important but underutilized program in New York.”
To find a WIC Help Specialist or to see a complete list of WIC Help NY agencies and the counties they serve, visit www.WIChelpNY.org. To learn more about WIC in New York, visit https://www.health.ny.gov/prevention/nutrition/wic.
Hunger Solutions New York is a statewide organization dedicated to alleviating hunger for all New Yorkers. For more information visit www.HungerSolutionsNY.org.