A Healthy Start to Life Initiative

WIC (Special Supplemental Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children)

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WIC is a “purchasing assistance program” that serves to safeguard the health of low-income women, infants and children up to age 5 through vouchers funded by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture for select foods that follow its nutrition guidelines. The WIC program provides these foods to supplement diets, as well as information on healthy eating and health care referrals. WIC is administered by the Minnesota Dept. of Health.

In Minnesota, enrollment statistics for infants and children under about 2 years old are among the highest in the country. In 2012, the state enrolled 73 percent of those eligible, ranking it 4th in the country.

The challenge rests with retention, beginning when an infant reaches 9 months, even though they are eligible for WIC benefits up to just under age 5.

We calculate that there are about 167,805 Minnesota children currently eligible for WIC.

OPPORTUNITY

Keep infants and children enrolled in WIC beyond current drop-off age, with the potential to add 28 million additional meals

HUNGER IMPACT PARTNERS APPROACH: WORK TO RETAIN ELIGIBLE AND ENROLLED INFANTS AND CHILDREN

In conjunction with its partners, Hunger Impact Partners will:

  • Coordinate with the MN Dept. of Health WIC staff to develop a retention methodology that will help refine the Child Nutrition Index and inform all those involved
  • Re-position WIC as adding value to early childhood development
  • Build a social media outreach plan to reach potential and current WIC participants
  • Call on the healthcare system as a lever for retention through physician and nurse practitioner engagement
  • Reach out to WIC participants through licensed child care centers and after-school programs

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