CHENANGO COUNTY – The Women’s, Infants and Children program offered through Opportunities for Chenango has seen a lot of new faces this year, and with numbers expected to grow even more next year, the program is instituting some changes to encourage healthy nutrition.
The WIC program provides checks for WIC foods to eligible pregnant women, children up to age 5, mothers of babies up to 6 months old and breastfeeding mothers of babies up to a year old. In addition to the food assistance, WIC provides nutrition education, breastfeeding support and assistance and referrals to other agencies.
Traditionally, WIC provides checks for milk, cheese, cereal, fruit juice, eggs, peanut butter and infant formula, but Director Katha Root explained, in an effort to promote healthy nutrition, the program has added additional food items to the list. In addition to the traditional products, WIC now also provides assistance with fresh, canned and frozen fruits and vegetables whole grain breads and rice, and jarred baby foods. “We’re trying to promote foods that are high in fiber and low in fat because of the obesity problem,” Root said.