The Food and Nutrition Service, under the guidelines of the Department of Agriculture, operates the WIC Program. WIC is an acronym for women, infant, and children. The WIC program is a nutritional program that benefits: women who are pregnant, women who have had their babies; and are breastfeeding or not breastfeeding, infants, and children up to age of five. Clients of the WIC program are low-income individuals, who are nutritionally at risk. WIC is funded federally through a grant that allocates a designated amount of funds each year.
The women, infants, and children who are WIC recipients receive many services that are essential in providing their nutritional requirements. These nutritional services include: supplemental foods, WIC clinics that provide counseling and education, and referrals/screening to other resourceful agencies in their state. In addition to WIC having operating sites in all 50 states, WIC sites are also located on Indian Tribal communities, in the District of Columbia, and in five American territories. Some of the health-related facilities that provide WIC services are located in schools, hospitals, community centers, Indian service centers, county departments, mobile units, and public housing complexes.
Since 1974, when WIC was founded, many commendable strides have been made in improving health rates among women, infants, and children in the low-income sector of the United States, and the above-mentioned areas. By providing WIC services, it is evident that reducing health costs is directly related because individuals receiving WIC nutritional supplements are in the same age range as those who are of immunization ages. Immunization rates are higher among WIC recipients.
From firsthand experience, I can attest that the WIC program made a profound difference when I received WIC benefits. Since the WIC site I participated in was at a health clinic, I was referred to other resource services available. My children were always current with their immunization shots, and I often watched health education films on how to prepare nutritional meals, along with how to make my dollar stretch for meals. Had it not been for the WIC benefits, there was no way I could afford the baby formula and all the milk that I fed my children. I had children three years in a row. Therefore at one time, all of them were in need of the many items that the WIC program provided, and these items carried well balanced nutritional values. This is how I best describe how the WIC program assists women, infants, and children.