WIC / Community Nutrition Services
What is WIC?
WIC is a Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) designed to help you and your family build healthy eating and living habits that will last a lifetime. It helps to promote and maintain the health and well-being of nutritionally at-risk pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants and children. WIC provides supplemental nutritious foods, nutrition and breastfeeding information, and referral to other health and nutrition services. WIC promotes and supports breastfeeding.
Who is Eligible for WIC?
To be eligible for WIC benefits, a person must meet the following requirements:
- be a pregnant, breastfeeding or new mother;
- be an infant up to age one; or be a child up to age 5;
- be a resident of Illinois;
- be income eligible;
- have a health or nutrition need.
WIC Income Guidelines
WIC income eligibility is based on 185% of US Department of Health and Human Services poverty guidelines.
- The WIC Program uses the same gross income criteria as free and reduced-price school lunches.
- Many working families qualify.
- Individuals who participate in other programs such as Medicaid, Food Stamps, TANF may automatically be income eligible.
WIC staff will determine income eligibility during your appointment.
What happens at a clinic visit?
The following information is required to be reviewed at the appointment:
- Birth certificate or hospital footprints for infants and/or children
- Proof of income – two recent wage stubs, Public Aid Card, Income Tax
- Proof of address – rent receipt, utility bill, etc.
- Proof of pregnancy – a doctor’s statement or pregnancy test from Family Planning.
- Bring eligible child/children scheduled for WIC clinic
Other information to bring:
- Social Security Card
- Immunization Records
- WIC I.D. card if available
The above information is reviewed, along with the participant’s health history. A health screening is performed on each participant. From there, information is plotted on growth charts and evaluated individually to determine WIC eligibility. Participants are then counseled by a health professional. Eating habits are discussed and food histories are evaluated. At that time, each participant is informed of their eligibility and WIC Program responsibilities
Benefits Received by WIC Participants
All participants receive:
- Screening for nutrition and health needs.
- Information on how to use WIC foods to improve health.
- Coupons to buy foods that help keep you and your children healthy and strong.
- Referrals to doctors, dentists, and programs like Food Stamps, Healthy Start and Head Start.
- WIC foods.
- Information on healthy eating during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Breastfeeding support or infant formula.
- Immunization referrals.
- Parents/caregivers receive information on taking care of babies.
Nutrition – Breastfeeding Support
Clients receive encouragement and instruction in breastfeeding. In many cases, breastfeeding women are provided breast pumps free of charge. WIC helps clients learn why breastfeeding is the best start for their baby, how to breastfeed while still working, Dad’s role in supporting breastfeeding, tips for teens who breastfeed, how to pump and store breast milk, and much more.
WIC provides coupons each month which are taken to grocery stores and used to buy nutritious foods. WIC foods include iron-fortified infant formula and infant cereal, iron-fortified adult cereal, vitamin C–rich fruit and vegetable juice, milk, eggs, cheese, beans, and peanut butter. Different food packages are issued to different clients. For example, mothers who are totally breastfeeding their babies without formula are issued tuna and carrots in addition to other foods.
Clients receive individual nutrition counseling and nutrition classes. Many clinics offer classes, especially for children. Men who have family members participating in the program are welcome to attend nutrition classes.
Some of the topics clients can learn about:
- Eating healthfully during pregnancy for mom and baby
- Infant and child nutrition — healthy foods for happy children, picky eaters, watching your child’s weight, and lots more
- How to get the most out of their food dollars
- The importance of childhood immunizations
- Tips for pregnant teens
- Common infant problems, such as colic, constipation, and crying
For more information on Nutrition please visit:
Where Can I Apply
East Side Health District Offers WIC at 4 different locations. Please call the nearest location for an appointment.
East Side Health District-East St. Louis
638 N 20th Street
East St. Louis, IL 62205
Open Mon-Fri 8:00am-4:30pm
East Side Health District- Cahokia
1274 Camp Jackson Road (Novo Plaza)
Cahokia, IL 62206
Open Mon-Fri 8:00am-4:30pm
East Side Health District- Fairmont City
2568 N 41st Street
Fairmont City, IL 62201
Open Wed – Fri 8:00am – 4:30pm
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