Will County Health Department WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) Program Coordinator Pat Krause wants county residents to be aware of increased WIC benefits that are available for program participants during the summer months.
“We are proud that Illinois chose to participate in temporary expansion of the Cash Value Benefit for fruits and vegetables,” Krause explained. “WIC promotes the healthy advantages of eating a variety of vegetables and fruits daily. What better way to encourage families to try new foods, especially during this time of year when we have so much delicious produce to choose from?”
WIC’s vegetable and fruit voucher – known as the Cash Value Benefit (CVB) – was first introduced in 2007 as part of a decades-long effort by the National WIC Association (NWA) to increase the nutritional quality of WIC-approved foods. The CVB is credited with improving the dietary quality of WIC participants, and reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity among WIC toddlers.
On March 12, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act authorized State WIC Agencies to enhance the WIC benefit for a period of four months, expanding the vegetable and fruit voucher from $9/month for children and $11/month for women, to $35/month per participant.
This increase, which began June 1, 2021, will be in effect until September 30, 2021. These additional funds will increase the ability of WIC participants to buy and consume more healthy fruits and vegetables during this difficult time.
“With far too many families struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic to afford the healthy foods that help grow healthy children, this temporary boost to the WIC benefit is an investment in our nation’s future,” said Rev. Douglas Greenaway, President & CEO of the National WIC Association. “Increased access to vegetables and fruits is a critical step toward ensuring that children have access to vital nutrients, and curbing childhood obesity rates while strengthening our local farm economies. In communities across the country, WIC is ready to help as parents continue to navigate the COVID-19 crisis.”
Illinois residents can find out if they are eligible for WIC by going to https://www.signupwic.com/.
WIC services are available at all three Will County Health Department branch offices; in Joliet, Bolingbrook, and Monee. For more on the WCHD WIC program, please go to https://willcountyhealth.org/women-infant-and-children-wic/.