WIC – Women, Infants & Children

Maternal and Family Health Services Announces Maria Montoro Edwards, PhD, as New President and CEO

The Board of Directors of Maternal and Family Health Services announces the appointment of Maria Montoro Edwards, PhD, as President and Chief Executive Officer of the non-profit health and human services organization. Dr. Montoro Edwards succeeds Bette Cox Saxton, who served MFHS as its President and CEO for the past 15 years in a 20-year leadership career at the organization.

“With her extensive administrative experience in the non-profit sector, her outstanding skill sets and familiarity with MFHS and the Northeastern PA community, Dr. Montoro Edwards emerged as the top candidate after a very thorough, comprehensive and competitive nationwide search process,” said Kathy Finsterbusch, Chair of the MFHS Board of Directors.

Dr. Montoro Edwards has more than 25 years’ experience in non-profit administration and a record of success in securing, implementing and stewarding public and private funding. She most recently served as Interim President and CEO at Telespond Senior Services, Inc., and prior to that as Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at The Wright Center for Community Health/The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education. She has a doctorate in Human Development, taught grantsmanship at the graduate level and is a certified research administrator with a credential in protecting human subjects in research.

In 2018, Dr. Montoro Edwards became a pioneering leader of the Healthy MOMS (Maternal Opiate Medical Support) program, connecting the Wright Center for Community Health, Maternal and Family Health Services and other dedicated community partners together to generate a collaborative response to neonatal abstinence syndrome. She was integral in securing funding for this program, which has served more than 100 expectant and new mothers across the region.

As an active member of the community, she has been involved with more than 25 organizations and boards of directors. Currently, she is serving on the boards of Community Intervention Center, NEPA Rainbow Alliance and Northeast Pennsylvania Nonprofit Community Assistance Center (NCAC). A life-long resident of Northeastern Pennsylvania, she resides in Madison Township with her husband, Kevin Edwards.

“The Board of Directors looks forward to working with Dr. Montoro Edwards to build upon the solid foundation of our organization’s many successes and achievements and to lead MFHS in the challenging and ever-changing health and human services non-profit environment,” said Finsterbusch. “We’re very confident she will follow in the footsteps of her predecessor and take the organization to new heights and achieve new and important successes in caring for the tens of thousands of underserved women, children and families who rely upon us every day.”

A Special Farewell For Bette Cox Saxton

As she prepares to leave Maternal and Family Health Services, we wanted to take a moment to say thank you and best wishes to MFHS President & CEO Bette Cox Saxton. We asked some of our friends and community partners to record a special message for Bette before she starts her new adventure.

Thank you for all that you’ve done for the women and children of Northeast Pennsylvania, and for everything you’ve done for MFHS! #MFHSproud

Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program Available for WIC Participants

Maternal and Family Health Services announced that the agency’s WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Nutrition Centers are distributing farmers market vouchers to WIC participants. The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) helps families with nutritional needs buy fresh fruits and vegetables from Pennsylvania farmers to help ensure good health for mothers and children and support community farmers’ markets. 

FMNP provides qualifying WIC participants with $24 in vouchers (4 – $6.00 vouchers) to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets between June 1 and November 30.  Pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, and children between the ages of 1 and 5 years old are eligible.  

WIC nutrition staff distribute the vouchers to WIC participants along with nutrition education emphasizing the importance of eating fresh fruits and vegetables and a list of participating farmers’ markets in the area.  

The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program is sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.  Across the Commonwealth, over 1000 farmers benefit from the program.  For more information or to apply for WIC, visit www.mfhs.org, or call 1-800-367-6347. 

Pennsylvania WIC is funded by the USDA. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.   

WIC Nutrition Program Announces Increased Income Guidelines

Maternal and Family Health Services announced that the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program has increased income guidelines allowing more families to participate in the free nutrition education program. 

According to the new income guidelines for WIC, beginning on July 1, 2020, a family of four could earn $48,470 annually and qualify for WIC. For a family of three, the income limit is $40,182 to qualify, and a family of two can earn up to $31,894 and qualify for nutrition assistance. A complete list of income guidelines is below. 

The WIC Nutrition Program is funded through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and provides nutrition education and access to healthy foods for pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, as well as infants and children under the age of 5.  To qualify, participants must meet the income guidelines, have a nutritional or medical need, and live in Pennsylvania.  This institution is an equal opportunity provider.  

WIC provides participants with supplemental healthy foods which contain vital nutrients essential for healthy development during critical growth periods, such as pregnancy, infancy and early childhood. For more information or to apply for WIC, visit www.mfhs.org, or call 1-800-367-6347. 

WIC is the nation’s premier public health and nutrition education program with an overall goal to influence lifetime nutrition through positive health behaviors.  In addition to the new eWIC card which can be used to purchase  nutritious foods, WIC participants receive nutrition education, breastfeeding support, immunization record checks, iron deficiency screening, farmers’ market vouchers and referrals for other health and social services. 

Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week 2020

This year, World Breastfeeding Week is focusing on the impact of breastfeeding on the environment and the importance of taking action to protect, promote and support breastfeeding for the health of the planet and its people. Breastfeeding is a prime example of the deep connection between human health and natures ecosystems. Not only are the benefits of breast milk significant for infants, it is also significant for the planet. Breast milk is natural, renewable, and environmentally friendly. Breastfeeding creates less waste for landfills, and it uses less energy than the production of formula. By supporting breastfeeding, you are also helping create a healthier planet. 

Maternal and Family Health Services promotes breastfeeding as the most perfect infant food and encourages new mothers to choose breastfeeding if possible. Breast milk has proven to have significant advantages for new mothers as well as infants. The MFHS WIC Nutrition Program offers valuable information and resources for breastfeeding mothers. WIC staff cover topics such as the advantages of breastfeeding for mother and baby, how to breastfeed, helpful hints, problem solving techniques and referrals for further help. For moms who are interested in breastfeeding, or need more support please call us and our staff will be able to help!

Department of Health warns WIC participants about new potential scams

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is warning participants of the state’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) about potential scams targeting them.

According to the Department of Health, although WIC clinics do perform eligibility checks, employees will never call participants requesting banking information for direct deposit.

“The WIC program provides access to resources for mothers and children across Pennsylvania and we do not want our WIC participants worried about being taken advantage of—especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Sec. of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said in a press release. “We want participants to be alert, but know their information is protected and their benefits will continue to be distributed through secure means. Please be aware of potential scammers looking to steal personal information and report their number so more Pennsylvanians do not have this experience.”

If a WIC participant is unsure if a request for information is legitimate they should contact their local WIC office. Services are available by phone or virtual appointments until their county transitions into the green phase.

Contact information for your local WIC clinic can be found here.

Pennsylvanians should report scams to their local law enforcement or file a consumer complaint to the Office of the Attorney General through an online form, by calling 800-441-2555, or by email at scams@attorneygeneral.gov.

WIC 2020 Public Meetings Notice

The Pennsylvania Department of Health and Bureau of Women, Infants and Children (WIC) will be hosting their annual public meetings for the public to provide feedback on the program. All meetings will be held virtually this year. Your comments and suggestions for the WIC program are important to us!  Please attend a virtual meeting or submit written comments to the Bureau of WIC State Agency.

  • May 1, 2020, Shenango Valley Urban League, 601 Indiana Ave., Farrell, PA 16121  
  • May 4, 2020, Broad Top Area Medical Center, 900 Bryan St., Suite 2, Huntingdon, PA 16652  
  • May 4, 2020, CAP of Cambria County, 516 Main St., 6th Floor, Johnstown, PA 15901  
  • May 7, 2020, Bi-County WIC/Hope, 612 W. 4th St., Williamsport, PA 17701 
  • May 7, 2020, North Central PA Regional and Development Commission, 49 Ridgmont Drive, Ridgway, PA 15853 
  • May 12, 2020, Allegheny County Health Department, 239 4th Ave., 6th Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 
  • May 12, 2020, CAP of Lancaster County, 601 S. Queen St., Room 220, Lancaster, PA 17603 
  • May 14, 2020, NORTH, Inc. Philadelphia WIC Office, 1300 W. Lehigh Ave., Suite 104, Philadelphia, PA 19132 
  • May 14, 2020, The Foundation of Delaware County, 1260 E. Woodland Ave., Suite 215, Springfield, PA 19064  
  • May 26, 2020, Family Health Council of Central PA, 1257 Columbia Blvd., Bloomsburg, PA 17815

In accordance with 7 C.F.R. §246.4(b), the Department of Health has scheduled 10 public meetings to obtain comments and recommendations for the development of the 2021 State Plan of Program Operation and Administration for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) in Pennsylvania. 

The department invites comments on all aspects of the program’s operations. 

Individuals wishing to give comments at a meeting or attend through the Zoom website are requested to pre-register by calling the State WIC Program Office at 717-783-1289. Call-in meeting information will be provided. Those unable to attend a meeting but wish to express their views, may submit written comments by May 31, 2020, to the Department of Health, Bureau of Women, Infants and Children (WIC), 625 Forster St., 7 West, Health and Welfare Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120. 

The meetings will be held 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and are subject to cancellation without notice. There will not be a WIC presentation at the meetings, but WIC resource materials will be available.  

If you require reasonable accommodations in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, please contact William Cramer at 717783-1289 for assistance.   

Pennsylvania WIC is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture. This institution is an equal opportunity provider. 

False Social Media Posts About WIC Formula

Recently, posts have been made on social media indicating that if parents cannot find formula for their children, they should call the WIC program for help, even if they are not current participants. As the WIC Nutrition program provider in Northeast Pennsylvania, Maternal & Family Health Services would like to correct that misconception. Income eligibility requirements for the program are still in effect at this time, and are available on our website. Currently, we are serving our clients in a limited capacity in order to maintain social distancing. A full breakdown of service changes due to COVID-19 is available here.

In the interest of the health and safety for all the families we serve, we ask that you please reschedule your appointment if you or anyone in your household has: 

Fever, chills, coughing, signs for respiratory illness or flu-like symptoms 

Or has recently: traveled out of the country, or to an area with widespread cases of Coronavirus, or if you have been in contact with anyone know to have the virus. 

Call 1-866-942-8463 to reschedule your WIC appointment. 

MFHS Announces Agency Wide Limited Service Delivery Due To COVID-19

For the safety of our staff and the families we serve, limited services will be available in select locations starting March 17, 2020.  A full archive of our updates regarding the COVID-19 outbreak are available here.

MFHS Family Planning Centers in Hazleton, Pottsville, Circle of Care, Scranton, and Hawley, are open for limited services.  Please contact your Family Planning Center for details.  Your provider can offer phone consultations, alternatives for visits, and additional contraceptive options if needed.     

MFHS WIC Nutrition Centers: the following WIC Nutrition Centers will be OPEN FOR LIMITED SERVICES* (see below for more details on limited WIC services): 

  • Berks County WIC Center in Reading  
  • Bradford County – Towanda WIC Center 
  • Carbon County WIC Center in Lehighton 
  • Lackawanna County – Scranton WIC, Circle of Care in Scranton, Jermyn WIC 
  • Lehigh County – Lehigh Valley WIC Center, Allentown 
  • Luzerne County – Wilkes-Barre WIC Center, Hazleton WIC Center 
  • Monroe County – East Stroudsburg WIC Center 
  • Montgomery County – Lansdale WIC Center, and Pottstown WIC Center  
  • Northampton County – Easton WIC Center 
  • Schuylkill County – Pottsville WIC Center, Shenandoah WIC Center, Tamaqua WIC Center 
  • Tioga County – Wellsboro WIC Center 
  • Wayne County – Hawley WIC Center

The following locations are CLOSED effective March 17, 2020 and until further notice 

  • Berks County – Kutztown WIC satellite 
  • Lackawanna County – Carbondale WIC satellite at the YMCA; Alder Street WIC satellite in Scranton 
  • Luzerne County – Nanticoke WIC satellite at Head Start; West Side WIC satellite at RHC in Edwardsville 
  • Monroe County – Tobyhanna WIC Center 
  • Montgomery County – Norristown WIC Center
  • Pike County – Dingmans Ferry WIC satellite 
  • Sullivan County – Sullivan County WIC satellite in LaPorte
  • Tioga County – Elkland WIC satellite at Head Start 
  • Wyoming County – Tunkhannock WIC Center

If you have an upcoming appointment at the WIC locations on the above “closed” list, you will be contacted by a WIC staff member who will provide further instructions on how to access WIC services. Please do not come to the locations listed above as they will be closed. You will be able to go to another nearby WIC Center for benefit pick up (eWIC card re-loading) appointments 

*Limited WIC services include the following:  

Benefit pick up (eWIC card re-loading) appointments  

  • These will be quick appointments to minimize time spent in the WIC Center.  
  • WIC nutritionists will be available via phone to answer your nutrition or infant and child feeding questions. 
  • Do not bring children or other family members to these appointments.  Only the endorser or proxy needs to come to the WIC Center for eWIC card re-loading.

Re-Certification appointments (appointments that require an assessment by a WIC nutritionist) 

  • Re-Certifications will be temporarily conducted over the phone.  
  • If you have this type of appointment scheduled on or after March 17, you will receive a phone call from a WIC nutritionist prior to your appointment.  
  • When you come to the WIC Center, you will only need to have your eWIC card re-loaded.  You willnotneed to bring your children for the visit. This will minimize your time in the WIC Center.

If you are not able to get to the WIC Center for eWIC card re-loading, you can designate a proxy to come to the WIC Center for you.  Please contact your WIC Center to arrange for this over the phone. 

In order to limit exposure, we ask that you please limit the number of people that you bring with you to your appointment. 

At MFHS, our goal during this crisis is to continue to provide essential WIC services in a safe and effective way.  We appreciate your continued cooperation and patience.  If you have questions regarding your appointment, please reach out directly to your WIC Center or call MFHS at 1-800-FOR-MFHS (1-800-367-6347) 

In the interest of the health and safety for all the families we serve, we ask that you please reschedule your appointment if you or anyone in your household has: 

Fever, chills, coughing, signs for respiratory illness or flu-like symptoms 

Or has recently: traveled out of the country, or to an area with widespread cases of Coronavirus, or if you have been in contact with anyone know to have the virus. 

Call 1-866-942-8463 to reschedule your WIC appointment. 

Montgomery County WIC Change in Service Delivery Due to COVID-19

MFHS will continue to update our website as the Covid-19 pandemic continues. For the entire archive of our updates on this evolving situation, please visit our dedicated Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) page

Notice to WIC Participants in Lansdale and Pottstown WIC

Limited WIC services will open in Montgomery County effective Monday, March 16

  • Benefit pick up (eWIC card re-loading) appointments scheduled on or after March 16th will take place as scheduled.
  • These will be quick appointments to minimize time spent in the WIC Center.
  • WIC nutritionists will be available via phone to answer your nutrition or infant and child feeding questions.
  • Re-Certification appointments (appointments that require an assessment by a WIC nutritionist) will be temporarily conducted over the phone. If you have this type of appointment scheduled on or after March 16th, you will receive a phone call from a WIC nutritionist prior to your appointment.  When you come to the WIC Center, you will only need to have your eWIC card re-loaded.  You will not need to bring your children for the visit. This will minimize your time in the WIC Center.
  • If you are not able to get to the WIC Center for eWIC card re-loading, you can designate a proxy to come to the WIC Center for you.  Please contact your WIC Center to arrange for this over the phone.
  • In order to limit exposure, we ask that you please limit the number of people that you bring with you to your appointment.

Notice to WIC Participants Receiving Services at Norristown WIC Center

  • The Norristown WIC Center will be closed for services beginning March 16th, until further notice.
  • Anyone who has an upcoming appointment will be contacted by a WIC staff member who will provide further instructions on how to access services. Please do not come to the Norristown Center, as we will be closed.
  • Benefit pick up (eWIC card re-loading) appointments scheduled on or after March 16th will be done at another nearby WIC Center
  • Re-Certification appointments (appointments that require an assessment by a WIC nutritionist) will be temporarily conducted over the phone. If you have this type of appointment scheduled on or after March 16th, you will receive a phone call from a WIC nutritionist prior to your appointment.  You will then be instructed on where to go to receive your benefits.
  • If you are not able to get to one of other centers for eWIC card re-loading, you can designate a proxy to come to the WIC Center for you.  When you receive your call from one of our WIC staff members, you can arrange for this over the phone.

For any questions about accessing services, please call 1-866-942-8463.

At MFHS, our goal during this crisis is to continue to provide essential WIC services in a safe and effective way.  We appreciate your continued cooperation and patience.  If you have questions regarding your appointment, please reach out directly to your WIC Center (link to list of WIC Centers) or call MFHS at 1-800-FOR-MFHS (1-800-367-6347)

In the interest of the health and safety for all the families we serve, we ask that you please reschedule your appointment if you or anyone in your household has:

  • Fever, chills, coughing
  • Signs for respiratory illness or flu-like symptoms

Or has recently:

  • Traveled out of the country
  • Traveled to an area with widespread cases of Coronavirus
  • Or if you have been in contact with anyone know to have the virus.

Call 1-866-942-8463 to reschedule your WIC appointment.