WIC families are reminded checks for the Pennsylvania Farmers Market Nutrition Program are available until September 30 and must be used before they expire November 30.
Pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women and children 2 to 4 enrolled in WIC are eligible to receive $20 each in checks redeemable at participating farmers markets for Pennsylvania-grown fresh fruits and vegetables. If they haven't already done so, eligible families should contact their WIC office or call 412-350-5801 to arrange pickup of their checks or get a list of farmers markets where they can be redeemed.
"We encourage all WIC families to take full advantage of the program and to get and use all their checks for free produce," said Acting Allegheny County Health Director Dr. Ron Voorhees.
Health officials suggest the produce checks be used before Thanksgiving, since most farmers markets 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 $20,665 for a family of one; $27,991 for 2; $35,317 for 3; $42,643 for 4; $49,969 for 5; $57,295 for 6; $64,621 for 7; and $71,947 for 8. Add $7,326 for each additional member beyond 8. Unborn children are counted when the woman is pregnant.
Besides 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 WIC Program at 412-350-5801.