In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising unemployment, Wisconsin Women, Infants and Children (WIC) continues to serve its participants and encourages all eligible parents and expecting parents to sign up. 

WIC serves low-income pregnant, postpartum or breastfeeding women, and infants and children younger than age 5 who have health or nutrition risks. Many working families are part of WIC. Fathers, grandparents and other caregivers of children younger than 5 may also sign up children for WIC. 

Also eligible are foster children and Kinship Care recipients younger than 5, and foster teens who are pregnant. WIC provides nutrition education, breastfeeding education and support, supplemental nutritious foods, and connections to other community services.

All 69 WIC local agencies in Wisconsin are supporting families at this time, but it is recommended to call the local WIC clinic before going in to the office.

To be eligible for the program, recipients must:

— Live in Wisconsin;

— Be a pregnant or breastfeeding woman, a woman within the first six months postpartum, or have an infant up to age 1 or a child up to age 5;

— Have a health or nutrition need; and

— Be income-eligible.

All sources of gross income, including overtime, in the household before any deductions are made must be presented. This also includes, but is not limited to, child support, unemployment and Supplemental Security Income payments. For more information about income eligibility, contact a local WIC office.

WIC considers future income and/or past income to qualify for the program. This means that future income will be taken into account for those who were recently laid off or furloughed.

The program is not planning to make any changes to the way in which participants receive their benefits. Benefits are issued remotely to a participant's eWIC card.

Shoppers should note that while grocery stores are especially busy and stock levels for WIC-approved foods may be low, this is not a food shortage. Manufacturer warehouses are fully stocked with WIC-approved foods. Grocery stores are waiting for their regular shipments, so WIC is encouraging participants to shop early in the morning to increase their likelihood of finding fully stocked shelves.

Due to the uncertainty around the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic, misinformation regarding WIC has been circulating. WIC has addressed these misconceptions on its website at wicmomstrong.com. The organization also is keeping participants updated with the latest information and providing resources during this time on Facebook and Instagram at @wicmomstrong.

Those in need may qualify if anyone in their family is receiving aid from FoodShare, Medicaid, BadgerCare Plus, Wisconsin Works Program, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.