What Is WIC?

You’ve seen the signs around the grocery store: “WIC eligible”. Or maybe you’ve seen the commercials on TV that tell you how WIC helps provide nutrition to children across the U.S. But maybe you still have questions, like many of the people we talk to every day. Today, let’s go through a crash course in all things WIC so that you’re up to speed on this amazing program.

Defining WIC

The short answer is: WIC stands for Women, Infants & Children. It is a federally funded program that provides nutritional food for pregnant women, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants and children up to 5 years of age. It is not designed to be a sole source of food, but rather, a supplement to help reduce poor birth outcomes, and to increase the health of women and children during critical development periods.

WIC in Action

The truth is, WIC is more than just food, though that is an important part. Women in the WIC program also receive nutrition education to help them make better choices for themselves and their children. They also receive breastfeeding support to help them feed their new baby, along with other support services that help create healthy children.

Getting WIC

You may be eligible for WIC where you live, depending on your income. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or raising a child under the age of 5, you can check your annual income against the federal guidelines here. And remember, we’re not for moms only! WIC also helps fathers, grandparents, and foster parents who are the legal guardians of young children. After scheduling an appointment at a WIC office, you will also be assessed to see what kind of nutritional or medical needs you have. The greater the nutritional risk, the more important WIC may be for you.

If you have questions about WIC or would like to apply, contact your local WIC center or call 1-800-PA-WIC-4-U.