The new WIC offices opened in Dunkirk on February 22 and in Jamestown on April 8, 2010. The new program was expected to serve a monthly target caseload of 3,400 women, infants, and children in the County and as of March 2011, 4,090 participants — 120 percent of the goal — are being served.
WIC stands for Women, Infants and Children and is a supplemental nutrition program provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). The program serves pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants and children up to age 5 who are income eligible and meet nutritional and/or medical guidelines established by the program.
“The goals of the WIC program are to achieve better birth outcomes and to prevent health related illnesses that could prevent children from reaching their maximum health potential. These goals are achieved through improving the diets of eligible individuals with nutritious foods and nutrition education,” stated Christine Schuyler, Public Health Director. “Not only are we securing healthy foods for these families but we are helping them to make healthy, smart, and affordable decisions that should last a lifetime. We are very proud of the success WIC has seen and look forward to continued success,” she added.
In addition to the main sites in Dunkirk and Jamestown, three temporary sites are open in Silver Creek, Westfield and Sherman. The program welcomes new applicants at any of these sites.
WIC offers a wide variety of foods, including milk, cheese, eggs, cereal, juice, peanut butter, beans, whole grain breads, tortillas, fruits, vegetables and infant formula. Currently, 28 stores throughout the County accept WIC checks. In addition, last summer the program handed out over 12,000 Farmer’s Market coupons to participants; promoting the purchase of locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables while supporting the overall health of the participants.
The WIC program also offers the Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program which, in conjunction with local hospitals, provides breastfeeding support to new mothers with the goal of increasing the number of mothers that choose to breastfeed their infants and the length of time that they breastfeed. Each Peer Counselor has a monthly caseload of 190-210 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
“All pregnant or breastfeeding mothers are invited to attend the monthly Breastfeeding Support Groups offered at the Dunkirk and Jamestown WIC sites,” stated Debra Felton, WIC Program Coordinator. “The program offers breastfeeding supplies to eligible participants including breast pumps and other breastfeeding aids to help support WIC moms in their breastfeeding efforts,” she added.
If you are interested in learning more about the WIC program, or know of someone who could benefit from the program, please call 1-866-604-6789 and press option no. 7 or visit www.myhealthycounty.com'>www.myhealthycounty.com.
After just one year of service, the new Chautauqua County WIC program is celebrating success.