This week’s spotlight highlights the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program
The Knox County Health Department is introducing a new weekly series each Tuesday called ‘Service Spotlight’ to inform the community about essential programs the organization offers. The series will highlight a different service including how to sign up, who qualifies, and any upcoming happenings or events. This week’s Service Spotlight is the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.
The WIC program is designed to serve pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women as well as infants and children under the age of five who qualify. More information about eligibility may be found at https://knoxcounty.org/health/wic.php. The program aims to safeguard the health of those who are at nutritional risk by providing healthy foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding support and referrals to health care. WIC food benefits can be used at most grocery stores throughout the State and can be personalized to individual needs.
Along with food benefits, WIC members can enroll in a Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), which is part of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program. WIC FMNP provides vouchers to qualifying participants to exchange for fruits, vegetables and herbs at local farmers markets throughout July and August. FMNP vouchers are for $5, and WIC participants get a total of $30 per year. Households with more than one eligible WIC participant will receive $30 per eligible family member.
“We are excited to be gearing up for Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) once again this year,” said KCHD WIC Nutrition Program Manager Sarah Griswold. “We are currently enrolling farmers who wish to partner with us and we have started asking our qualifying participants if they wish to receive vouchers this season.”
For more information about the FMNP program, including how to apply as an authorized farmer, click here.
The WIC program has continued to help families throughout the pandemic. Since March 2020, WIC has grown its participation by over 1,600 individuals. During this time, they have also released a WICShopper App, which makes shopping for WIC participants easier by allowing them to scan the UPC barcode of store products to help determine whether that product is allowable as a WIC food item and on the participants WIC benefits.
KCHD’s WIC Program has capacity to serve more WIC-eligible families. Those interested in participating may schedule an appointment by calling 865-215-5016 (for Spanish, call 865-215- 5418). For those with limited phone access, send an email providing a name and a phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org and WIC staff will be in touch to schedule services according to client schedule preference. Once contacted, most eligible clients are enrolled within 2- 3 business days.
For more information about Knox County WIC and to see the qualification guidelines, visit WIC’s webpage here.