Free Nutrition Classes + Healthy Foods Help Local Moms and Children
WIC, or the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program, is a program for pregnant moms, babies, and young children to help reduce obesity and improve access to healthy foods. This August, the program added a new resource: online nutrition education classes. Now, WIC participants can access their required nutrition education component online in addition to receiving monthly benefits to purchase healthy foods for their families.
WIC provides supplemental nutritious foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and referrals to health care and community resources to participants. Last year, the program began issuing eWIC cards to replace the traditional paper vouchers, aiming to reduce barriers to using the program. Several years ago, the Gaston County Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) worked with local farmers markets to allow WIC benefits to be used for fresh, local fruits and vegetables. This latest move to online education is another way the program is hoping to reach more moms, especially younger more technical-savvy mothers.
“We are so excited that we are taking another step in the direction of making this program accessible to all our local moms and children who need it,” shared Kristi Shuping, WIC Program Supervisor. “We know there are hundreds of families who could benefit from WIC, but they either don’t know about it or think it is too hard to participate because of the need to attend office visits for nutrition education. Now, many families can benefit from the online education component and continue getting benefits for healthy food for their families.”
The WIC Program is available at the Gaston County Department of Health & Human Services, 991 W. Hudson Blvd. You may apply for the WIC Program Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The Program also has Tuesday and Thursday hours at their Social Services Division office at 330 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way; appointments are available between 8-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. All interested individuals are encouraged to call ahead to make an appointment or to find out what to bring to their first visit. Call 704-853-5100 to make an appointment or with questions.
To be eligible a person must:
- Be a pregnant woman; a breastfeeding woman who has had a baby in the last 12 months; a woman who has had a baby in the last six months; an infant; or a child up to the fifth birthday;
- Reside in North Carolina and in the health delivery area of the WIC agency;
- Meet the income eligibility scale – The gross annual household income cannot exceed 1855 of the Federal poverty income guidelines –All Medicaid, Food and Nutrition Services (SNAP) and Work First recipients meet the WIC eligibility criteria; and
- Have an identified nutritional risk as determined by a health professional. Nutritional problems include anemia, poor growth, previous poor pregnancy outcome, inadequate dietary intake and other nutrition related health problems.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.