By Tracy Brookshier
April 1, 2020
(Bowling Green), MO – The Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, known as WIC, remains in operation in Missouri. The (Pike County Health Dept.) WIC program will continue to support current participants and to enroll new participants who may now be income-eligible due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Given the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to control the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic through means of social distancing, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has approved Missouri’s request to waive the WIC program’s physical presence requirement. Normal clinic operations that require employees, participants, and applicants to physically come into the clinic create an undesirable risk and there are mandatory clinic closures in some areas. A waiver of physical presence removes a requirement that could prevent or impede the provision of essential WIC services to participants under current circumstances. This will be in effect through May 31, 2020, unless extended.
WIC participants may now choose from expanded options in a variety of food categories to help address WIC product shortages that have occurred because of food distribution issues. WIC participants may substitute Jif, Skippy and Peter Pan peanut butters in the same size; substitute a dozen medium, extra-large, jumbo, or brown eggs if large eggs are not available; purchase quarts and gallons of multiple varieties of milk to total the number of gallons on their checks; purchase approved alternate brands of wheat bread if the WIC-approved brands are unavailable; and purchase a wider variety of infant fruits and vegetables. The WIC state agency will decrease the maximum quantity printed on checks to allow WIC customers to purchase smaller quantities of food items from multiple retailers for up to the full amount of their food prescription.
The WIC program is considering other product list expansions at this time to be effective throughout May 31, 2020, unless extended. Per WIC requirements, retailers must allow WIC participants to purchase the full amount of items on their check, if available in the store, and should not be held to quantity limitations. WIC participants may also inquire about the possibility of ordering formula from an authorized pharmacy for later pick-up within the same month if formula is not available in their immediate area.
Pregnant women, new mothers, and families with children from birth through their fifth birthday can learn more about qualifying and enrolling in the Missouri WIC program by visiting the Missouri WIC website at wic.mo.gov to locate their local agency or by calling 1-800-TEL-LINK (1-800-835-5465). Contact the (Pike County Health Dept.) WIC program to find out about program changes due to COVID-19, appointment by phone is needed due to illness, quarantine, or local agency change in operation. 573-324-2111