FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Connecticut Department of Public Health
January 18, 2013 William Gerrish
Vendors may apply through month of January; vendors needed in rural areas of state
Hartford – The Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced that grocery stores and pharmacies can apply through the month of January to participate in the state’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). By accepting new applications, DPH hopes to increase the number of vendors that accept WIC benefits, particularly in communities where the distance between stores and WIC participants is significant.
“In some parts of Connecticut, particularly rural areas, finding a grocery store that accepts WIC benefits can be challenging,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen. “By becoming a WIC vendor, stores are able to offer healthy foods to low-income families and also increase their customer base to include those with WIC benefits.”
Vendors must meet certain criteria to participate. WIC authorized grocery stores are required to maintain a minimum inventory of healthy foods that includes fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grain bread, whole grain cereal, low-fat milk, eggs, infant cereal and formula, and other nutritious staples for moms, children and babies. Pharmacies can also participate but are only authorized to sell formula.
A 2011 study by the University of Connecticut’s Center for Public Health and Health Policy found that WIC authorized stores in Hartford carried healthier foods than stores without WIC authorization.
“WIC vendors provide access to nutritious food for Connecticut’s communities,” said Dr. Mullen. “Whether in urban or rural communities, WIC vendors make healthy foods available to families in areas where healthy foods may not be easily accessible.”
Information needed to apply for participation in the WIC program is available on the DPH website at www.ct.gov/dph/wic. The website provides information on the application process, criteria for eligibility, and links to register for required training sessions. Vendors may apply through January 31, 2013.
The WIC Program is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture and administered in Connecticut by DPH providing benefits to over 56,000 people each month. The WIC mission is to safeguard the health of low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, infants, and children up to age five who are at nutritional risk by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, nutrition education, breastfeeding promotion and support, and referrals to health care and social services. For more information on the DPH WIC Program, please visit www.ct.gov/dph/wic or call (860) 509-8084.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state. To contact the department, please visit its website at www.ct.gov/dph or call (860) 509-7270.