The Allegheny County Health Department is reminding WIC families that checks for the Pennsylvania Farmers Market Nutrition Program must be used before they expire November 30.
“We encourage families to take full advantage of the program and use all their checks for free produce and not let any go to waste,” said County Health Director Dr. Bruce W. Dixon.
The checks are redeemable at participating Farmers Markets for Pennsylvania-grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Only 32 of the original 61 Farmers Markets in Allegheny County will be open in November. The locations are listed on the Health Department's web site, www.achd. net/wic.
Health officials suggest the produce checks be used before Thanksgiving, since most of the remaining Farmers Markets will close for the season a week before the holiday.
The list of produce available this fall 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 $20,147 for a family of one; $27,214 for 2; $34,281 for 3; $41,348 for 4; $48,415 for 5; $55,482 for 6; $62,549 for 7; and $69,616 for 8. Add $7,067 for each additional member beyond 8. Unborn children are counted when the woman is pregnant.
In addition to farmers market produce during the summer and fall, WIC provides regular year-round food benefits that include infant formula; infant cereal; milk; eggs; cheese; juice; cereal; peanut butter; whole grains, including bread, tortillas, oatmeal and rice; soy milk; tofu; jarred baby foods; dry or canned beans; canned tuna, sardines and pink salmon; and fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables.
For more information about WIC and how to apply for benefits, call the County Health Department at 412-350-5801.