WIC is a wonderful program for lower income families with children under 5 and/or for pregnant women. Have you ever used WIC? Did you think it was helpful?
WIC stands for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs for Women, Infants, and Children. Families must have an income of 180% of the federal poverty level or below. It is intended to benefit pregnant women during the pregnancy and for the following 6 weeks if she chooses not to breastfeed. Women who do provide breastmilk will continue to receive food vouchers until the child turns 1 year. Infants and children receive either food or formula, whatever is appropriate for the child’s age.
For those of you who do not know, children who are in foster care qualify for WIC if they are under 5 years of age. They automatically meet the income requirements. In Arkansas, if a child’s WIC is not picked up every month, their amount gets reduced.
So whether we need it or like it, a lot of foster parents get the vouchers and use them every month. Not only does it help our food budgets a bit, it means that the child will have their full WIC available, should the bio family need it once the child goes back home.
This means that every month for the last several, I am in the store picking up WIC.
For infants, WIC can be phenomenal! It covers about $150 worth of formula. Of course, I buy the store brand when possible, so it would only be half that for us out of pocket, but that is still a lot of money! Moms that breastfeed receive food vouchers instead of formula.
For toddlers and up, it provides about $50 worth of food items. Which again, isn’t a huge amount, but it helps.
Here are the items for this month for 1 child:
14-16 oz cheese
1 dozen eggs
36 oz cereal
2 half gallons of 100% juice
3 gallons of milk
4 cans or 1lb of dry beans
2 grain products (bread, oatmeal, tortillas, rice, pasta)
$8.00 cash value for fresh or frozen fruits or veggies
These items are split between 3 different checks.
Not every family can or will use everything on this list, but you are required to get all of the items on each check that you do fill. We try to use it all, since we don’t like to be wasteful.
We don’t drink juice in our house, except for special occasions. I would rather get more fresh/frozen.
The grains are all whole grains, including the cereal. Milk is low fat for children 2 and older.
There is a whole booklet that comes with your WIC folder that details the items that are allowed and the items that are not.
Most of the items that we get with WIC can be eaten alone. This is especially helpful for those families where the adults did not learn how to cook.
I don’t love picking up WIC. I live in a town where ~60% of the children come from lower income families and I still feel very defensive about it. I think WIC is a wonderful program and I wish there was not such a stigma attached, not just for myself, but for any family that needs it.
If you have ever used WIC, tell me about your experiences.