The Pettis County Health Center on Tuesday announced new income guidelines for families interested in participating in the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
WIC provides food, education and support services for pregnant, breastfeeding or postpartum women and children up to age 5. WIC participants must meet income guidelines, pegged at up to 185 percent of the federal poverty level, which are adjusted annually based on the cost of living. Recipients must meet income guidelines and be determined to be at nutritional risk, according to Mary Lou Shane, who administers the program in Pettis County through the health department.
“We provide nutritional education and breastfeeding support to new and expecting mothers. They also receive WIC checks they can take to grocery stores and receive specific foods like milk, eggs, cereal, whole grain foods, fruits and vegetables, beans or peanut butter,” Shane said.
The program currently serves about 1,725 people in Pettis County. Shane said that number has remained relatively constant over the past two years, ranging from 1,700 to 1,800 recipients, but is still a decline from highs seen during the recession.
The new guidelines range from an annual income of $20,665 for an individual to $57,295 for a family of six.
Shane called the program “valuable” in helping support healthy families.
“If some families weren’t on WIC, their diet wouldn’t be as good. They wouldn’t get milk, fruits or vegetables. When families are trying to make their dollars stretch, sometimes fruits and vegetables aren’t on top of the list,” Shane said.
People interested in applying for assistance may call the health center at 827-4599, or visit their office at 911 E. 16th St.