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Minnesota families urged to join WIC to benefit from long-standing program offerings

WIC’s health and nutrition programs providing benefits for 50 years

Minnesota is one of the top five states in the nation for eligible families enrolling in the federal supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children, known as WIC, and there are still about 61,000 Minnesota families who could benefit by signing up today.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is encouraging these families to use WIC, which has successfully improved maternal and child outcomes for 50 years.

“We are committed to making sure Minnesota families have access to food benefits and support services from the moment they find out they’re pregnant,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Brooke Cunningham. “Minnesota WIC has a high coverage rate of eligible Minnesota families, but we know there are more parents and young children who would benefit from WIC and are not part of the program. We want every eligible family to know about the vital benefits WIC can give to their growing families and that it just takes a few minutes to apply.”

Minnesota WIC program helps pregnant women, new mothers, babies, and young children get a healthy start through nutrition education, nutritious foods, breastfeeding and chestfeeding support, and referrals to health and social services in their community.

The WIC food benefit includes milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, whole grains, cereal, peanut butter, beans and more. It also includes $26-$52 monthly for participants to buy fresh, frozen, or canned fruits and vegetables.

Families can apply for WIC online. Pregnant women, parents – including foster parents and guardians – with an infant or child younger than age 5 can apply. Families must be income eligible to apply and live in Minnesota. Families do not need to be a U.S. citizen to receive benefits. Families who are already participating in programs like Medical Assistance or SNAP are automatically income eligible. Visit the Am I Eligible for WIC? webpage for the current income guidelines.

“These families have opportunities to provide their growing children with healthier starts,” said Minnesota WIC Director Kate Franken. “All children deserve to have access to foods that will nourish their bodies and minds. The WIC program has a great selection of popular foods that are also specifically selected to provide key nutrients for health and child development.”

Minnesota WIC covers 61.5% of eligible WIC families, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service’s National and State Level Estimates of WIC Eligibility and Program Reach in 2021 report. Those families have healthier diets thanks to the WIC food benefits supplementing their monthly groceries.

Minnesota WIC served an average of 106,000 women, infants, and children monthly in 2023, about 7,000 more than the 2022 monthly average. Nearly 92% of eligible Minnesota infants received WIC benefits in 2022.

People participating in WIC earlier in their pregnancy are more likely to breastfeed thanks to one-on-one breastfeeding education and support. That individualized support extends through the parent’s entire breastfeeding journey to benefit the parent and baby. Local WIC agencies also refer families to other important resources and programs in their communities.

Learn more about the Minnesota WIC program and the positive impact it has on Minnesota families: WIC Program.

Additional resources

• View recent data and facts about the WIC program: Minnesota WIC Facts 2024 (PDF)

• Online WIC application: Apply for WIC

• Find your local WIC agency: Minnesota WIC Agency Directory

• Learn about WIC foods: Shopping Guide Effective 2023 (PDF)

-MDH-

 

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