June 10, 2008 |

WIC families can get produce at local farmers' markets

The Allegheny County Health Department is offering free produce through the Pennsylvania Farmers Market Nutrition Program to women and children enrolled in its Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Supplemental Food Program.

In addition to regular WIC benefits, women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or postpartum and children two, three and four years of age each will be given checks worth $20 that are redeemable through November 30 for Pennsylvania-grown fresh fruits and vegetables at participating Farmers Markets anywhere in the state, including 47 locations in Allegheny County.

WIC families also will receive a guide to picking fresh produce, various recipes using fruits and vegetables and tips for planting their own fruit and vegetable garden.

Families are encouraged to sign up for WIC to receive the free produce as well as regular WIC benefits, which include infant formula, milk, eggs, cheese, juice, cereal and other foods.

WIC is a federally funded program for pregnant or breastfeeding women, postpartum mothers and children under the age of five. Eligibility is based on income and nutritional risk.

The income limits, new as of May 1, are an annual gross income of $19,240 for a family of one; $25,900 for 2; $32,560 for 3; $39,220 for 4; $45,880 for 5; $52,540 for 6; $59,200 for 7; and $65,860 for 8. Add $6,660 for each additional member beyond 8. Unborn children are counted in determining family size when the woman is pregnant.

For information about WIC and how to apply for benefits, call the County Health Department at 412-350-5801. If this number is a toll call or for those who live outside Allegheny County, call the statewide toll-free number, 1-800-WIC-WINS. Information about WIC is also available at www.achd.net/wic.

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