Skip to main content

Mary’s Center Provides Meaningful Support for WIC Families

Posted by Emily C. Kelley, Public Affairs Specialist, Food and Nutrition Service in Equity Food and Nutrition Nutrition Security
Aug 03, 2022
A group of women pose for a photo outside a building

“Hello, Mommy!”

These are the first warm, welcoming words moms participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC, hear when arriving for an appointment at the Mary’s Center (Petworth) WIC Clinic in Northwest D.C. If English isn’t mommy’s primary language – their team happily helps with Spanish, Amharic, French, or Mandarin translation.

“Our staff is truly focused on our participants’ experience,” said Donna Dunston, director of Mary’s Center WIC. “They love what they do and some of them were even WIC participants in the past and use those experiences to help our current WIC moms on their journey.”

The WIC program provides supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education to income eligible, nutritionally at-risk pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to babies and children up to age five. The caring, meaningful support WIC staff provide to families is the heart of the program.

Mary’s Center WIC staff recently implemented electronic benefits transfer, also known as eWIC, in Washington, D.C. WIC participants have the ease of using a card for WIC transactions, rather than using paper WIC vouchers. While that may seem like a small improvement, the electronic transaction helps make the shopping experience smooth, especially for moms with babies and children shopping with them.

Mary’s Center staff have made many trips to the store with brand new WIC participants to show them how to use their benefits and to make sure the transactions go as expected. That extra level of customer service exemplifies the heart of the WIC program and its meaningful support for moms, babies, and young children.