We often ask our customers to come up with ideas that we can use to create new and interesting products. During one such post, one of our customers reached out to us to ask us to create a fruits and vegetables design, and she happened to be a member of WIC. We were more than thrilled to create the design and collaborate with her to create this beautiful collection (which you can view here). We always like to support science, and nutrition is a big part of it. The ability to add an element of art to the design made it even more fun for us and our customers.
So what is WIC? WIC stands for Women, Infants, and Children, and it’s a USDA-run program for pregnant persons, infants (both breast and formula feeding), and children up to age 5. WIC provides healthy foods, including infant formula and cash value benefits (CVB) used to buy fruits and vegetables, nutrition education, breastfeeding and breastfeeding support, and referrals to other services.
About ½ of America’s babies are on WIC for formula assistance and breastfeeding/chestfeeding support. They have LGBTQ families and serve families without needing proof of citizenship; they serve all people who qualify financially (under 185% of the FPL), regardless of their citizenship status. In the summer, WIC also has a Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), offering Maine-grown fruits and veggies to its participants.
WIC was started in 1972 in a county in Kentucky and was so successful in improving participants health through diet that it was nationwide by 1974, which is unprecedented growth. There are 89 WIC programs in the world: all 50 states, 33 Indigenous tribes, six American territories, and a program for the US military. 2024 brings us the 50th anniversary of the WIC program.
In short, WIC improves families health outcomes through nutritional foods and nutrition education. WIC children are healthier and better immunized than children not on WIC. WIC reduces preterm labor, increases birthweight in WIC participants, and early identifies hypertension, a leading cause of maternal morbidity. WIC improves children’s brain health, which is so important during fetal development and the first 5 years; proper brain health promotes critical thinking as adults. Simply put, you are what you eat!