County nutrition program resumes
The Allegheny County Health Department has resumed issuing Pennsylvania Farmers Market vouchers to participants in its Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Supplemental Food Program.
The Health Department had stopped issuing the vouchers in July due to the state's budget impasse. The vouchers are redeemable for Pennsylvania-grown fresh fruits and vegetables at participating Farmers Markets and Farm Stands.
Eligible WIC participants who have not yet received Farmers Market vouchers are urged to contact the WIC office where they are enrolled or call 412-350-5801. Vouchers are available for nearly 4,500 participants and must be picked up by October 15.
In addition to their regular WIC benefits, women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or postpartum and children two, three and four years of age are eligible for Farmers Market vouchers.
The vouchers are worth $20 and redeemable through November 30, but it is suggested that they be used before Thanksgiving because most Farmers Markets close for the season a week before the holiday. All participating Farmers Markets in the County are listed on the Health Department's web site, http://www.achd.net/wic.
The list of fall produce now available includes apples, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, squash, grapes, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, onions, parsnips, pears, plums, potatoes, pumpkins, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, turnips, yams and zucchini.
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 are an annual gross income of $20,036 for a family of one; $26,955 for 2; $33,874 for 3; $40,793 for 4; $47,712 for 5; $54,631 for 6; $61,550 for 7; and $68,469 for 8. Unborn children are counted when the woman is pregnant.
Besides Farmers Market produce during the summer and fall, WIC provides regular year-round benefits that include infant formula, milk, eggs, cheese, juice, cereal, peanut butter, whole grains, soy milk, tofu, jarred baby foods, dried and canned beans, pink salmon, sardines, chunk light tuna, and frozen, canned and fresh fruits and vegetables available in grocery stores.
For more information about WIC and how to apply for benefits, call the County Health Department at 412-350-5801.