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The original item was published from 9/16/2023 9:44:00 AM to 10/17/2023 12:00:01 AM.

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DHHS

Posted on: September 16, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Nutrition Program’s New Remote Option Making a Big Difference for Local Families

Nutrition

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. – Access to proper nutrition will be easier for low-income families thanks to the new flexible services put in place by the Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services. Effective August 1, 2023, the WIC program now offers both in person and remote appointments for applicants and participants. 

WIC, or the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, is a program for pregnant moms, babies, and young children to help reduce obesity and improve access to healthy foods. It provides supplemental nutritious foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and referrals to health care and community resources to participants. By offering remote appointments for certain services, staff will have the opportunity to be flexible and accommodating of participants’ needs when scheduling appointments for families. 

“We want to eliminate certain barriers such as transportation and work schedules, by providing more flexibility to meet the needs of our valued participants and future participants. We are excited about the direction WIC is headed,” said Tiffany Thomas, Gaston County WIC Director.

To reduce barriers to using the program over the past several years, WIC began issuing eWIC cards to replace the traditional paper vouchers. In 2021, the program began providing its on-site nutrition and breastfeeding education classes online, along with phone counseling, as needed. In this way, WIC participants have been able access to their required nutrition education component online, in addition to receiving the monthly benefits to purchase food for their families.

"Our goal in Gaston County is to reach as many people as possible who qualify for the WIC program,” Thomas said. “We are prepared now, more than ever to make receiving nutrition education, breastfeeding support services, and healthy foods more accessible to all of the county.” 

Certain appointments are not eligible to be completed remotely. Please call 704-853-5100 for more information or to make an appointment. The program is available at the Gaston County Department of Health & Human Services, 991 W. Hudson Blvd. You may apply for the WIC Program in person Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. 

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;
  • Be a relative, such as a grandparent, or older adult who may be caring for or have custody of a child under the age of 5;
  • 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 185% 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.


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