The local Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program has begun offering its families a new way to shop for their food benefits using an electronic benefit transaction card, according to a press release from the Riley County Health Department.
At the state level, the public health nutrition program began piloting the new system in Shawnee County in September. The pilot was a success, and WIC families in Riley and Pottawatomie counties began receiving cards Jan. 10. Statewide rollout of the new eWIC cards will be completed by June.
“Previously, the families in our program used paper checks to buy the healthy foods WIC provides,” said Jane Freyenberger, WIC Coordinator at Riley County Health Department. “Now, with the new eWIC card, shopping is easier and WIC families are able to better track their monthly food balance too.”
In Riley County, more than 1,900 women, infants and children participate in WIC, and eight local grocery stores partner in providing healthy foods to participants.
“The benefits and grocery store partners are the same, but the new eWIC card makes shopping for WIC food benefits more convenient and easier for WIC participants and cashiers,” Freyenberger said. “It also simplifies enrollment and participation in the WIC program. We are really excited to bring eWIC to our community.”
Participants now have the flexibility to purchase benefits as needed within their benefit period. They also have access to a new WIC Shopper phone app allowing them to scan a food’s bar code to determine if it is a WIC allowed food, as well as to check their benefits.
WIC, officially titled the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, offers participant-centered nutrition education, healthy food, breastfeeding support and has served as a gateway for preventative health for over 40 years. It is considered one of the most successful, cost-effective and important nutrition intervention programs in the United States.
Riley County WIC has appointment openings at its offices in the Riley County Health Department and Irwin Army Community Hospital, as well as at its mobile clinic in Wamego. For more information about WIC, call the offices in Manhattan at 785-776-4779 or IACH at 785-240-7019 or visit www.kansaswic.org.