𝗡𝗬𝗦 𝗪𝗜𝗖’𝘀 𝗥𝗼𝗹𝗲 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗜𝗻𝗳𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝗙𝗼𝗿𝗺𝘂𝗹𝗮 𝗦𝗵𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗮𝗴𝗲
@HungerSolutionsNY would like to remind their partners about the important role the New York State WIC program plays in supporting infant nutrition, so you can best assist families looking for help and guidance around this issue now and in the future.
In light of an ongoing nationwide infant formula shortage, many parents and caregivers are deeply concerned about how they will safely feed their babies. While the current formula shortage is not exclusive to WIC participants or WIC-eligible individuals, it has generated much interest in the WIC program and formula access.
𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝘽𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙛𝙞𝙩𝙨 𝙤𝙛 𝙒𝙄𝘾
WIC is a vital resource for more than 370,000 pregnant women, infants and children under five in New York State. Families enrolled in WIC have access to:
• Qualified nutritionists that offer helpful information to help keep families healthy,
• Connections to community resources, such as healthcare, counseling, and additional food assistance,
• Breastfeeding education, support, and peer-to-peer counseling,
• Food packages tailored to an individual’s nutrition needs, including formula when needed.
WIC currently serves only about half of all who are eligible, and many more families may benefit from these services. Dads, grandparents, and caregivers of children, working families, and non-US citizens can qualify, too. Families that receive Medicaid, SNAP, or TANF automatically qualify. Currently, a working family of four can have $49,025 in yearly income and qualify. Look here for more income guidelines: https://on.ny.gov/3wRrwFz
𝙒𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙉𝙔𝙎 𝙒𝙄𝘾 𝙄𝙨 𝘿𝙤𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙤 𝙈𝙞𝙩𝙞𝙜𝙖𝙩𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙄𝙢𝙥𝙖𝙘𝙩 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙁𝙤𝙧𝙢𝙪𝙡𝙖 𝙎𝙝𝙤𝙧𝙩𝙖𝙜𝙚 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙒𝙄𝘾-𝙀𝙣𝙧𝙤𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙙 𝙁𝙖𝙢𝙞𝙡𝙞𝙚𝙨
WIC is committed to ensuring all participants have access to the nutrition they need to stay healthy. WIC local agencies and vendor management agencies have been working tirelessly to support families throughout the formula recall and subsequent supply shortages, by helping participants to locate products, explore safe and appropriate alternatives and by providing guidance, support and comfort during this extremely stressful time. WIC local agencies can also refer participants to health care providers for additional services and resources.
It is important to understand that the New York State WIC Program can only assist certified WIC participants. WIC also does 𝗻𝗼𝘁 distribute food or formula directly to participants. WIC benefits are issued electronically each month on an eWIC card. Benefits are used to purchase specific foods that are tailored to a family’s nutritional needs. When formula is identified as necessary for an infant, formula benefits specific to that infant are provided as part of the overall WIC food package. Participants use their eWIC card to purchase formula at participating WIC stores.
WIC participants are encouraged to speak with grocery or pharmacy staff if they do not see their infant’s formula on the store shelf. Participants may also need to shop at multiple stores and should avoid waiting until the last day to use their benefits.
Currently, the White House, Congress, federal agencies, and NYS government are working to address short- and long-term solutions to the shortage. Looking ahead, we do not yet know the exact impact federal action will have in our communities, or how quickly it will reach families. We will keep our partners updated on changes that impact families in New York.
𝘾𝙤𝙣𝙣𝙚𝙘𝙩 𝙁𝙖𝙢𝙞𝙡𝙞𝙚𝙨 𝙩𝙤 𝙒𝙄𝘾
Local WIC agencies are here to help, but NYS WIC cannot provide benefits to non-WIC participants. Families must complete an enrollment process if they wish to receive WIC services. The best way for families to learn if they may qualify for WIC is to use Wanda, the NYS Department of Health’s WIC virtual assistant (https://bit.ly/3yYdTqs). In a three-minute online chat, families can learn if they might be eligible and get referred to a WIC Program near them for an appointment.
Families who are already enrolled in WIC should contact their local agency for assistance locating products when needed. For those who may be eligible and not enrolled in the program, there has never been a better time to see if WIC can help. Referring potentially eligible families to Wanda is a great first step.
Learn more about the NYS WIC program here: https://on.ny.gov/3wQ2g2e