When Rebecca and Parker Catt became parents, they faced a new set of challenges, including making the right choices in deciding what their baby James should be fed. After Rebecca heard about the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) from a friend at the gym, she went to a WIC clinic near her home in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. There she discovered she qualified for the program and signed up.
Now among nearly 80,000 active WIC participants in Mississippi, Rebecca says that WIC has not only helped them get nutritious food for their baby, it has also helped them become more financially stable. "It’s helped us save money so we can pay more on our other bills," Rebecca said. "It’s really helped out my family and I’m sure it will help out multiple people.”
“The value of the WIC program is not only to provide supplemental foods, the nutrition education is invaluable because as children grow, parents will understand why they should feed their children certain healthy foods,” said Diane Hargrove, director of the Mississippi Department of Health WIC Program.
And Mississippi is now in the process of making WIC benefits delivery more convenient by transitioning from issuing benefits through paper checks to using WIC Electronic Benefits Transfer (eWIC) cards. Like the paper checks, the eWIC cards can be used for purchasing approved foods from authorized grocery stores. The state began statewide rollout last month and Hattiesburg, Meridian, and Tupelo are currently transitioning to eWIC.
“We are excited about Mississippi’s transition to eWIC which will offer participants a wider variety or authorized foods and allow them to make purchases at their convenience,” said Southeast Regional Administrator Willie Taylor of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service. “We know that good nutrition is key for being healthy and having a productive life.”
Families like the Catts truly appreciate all the support. “The people at the WIC clinic are super nice and helpful,” said Rebecca. “WIC to me means good nutrition, overall, I just love it.”
Learn more about the USDA WIC program here: www.fns.usda.gov/wic.