As National Farmers Market Week is celebrated August 3 – 9, the Allegheny County Health Department is reminding WIC families checks for the Pennsylvania Farmers Market Nutrition Program are still available, while supplies last, and must be used before they expire November 30.
Women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or postpartum and children two, three and four years old who are enrolled in the WIC Program are eligible for checks worth $20 in free produce. 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.
The checks are redeemable for Pennsylvania-grown fresh fruits and vegetables at participating Farmers Markets and Farm Stands in Pennsylvania. More than 60 locations are in Allegheny County and listed on the Health Department’s WIC web site, www.achd.net/wic.
WIC families are encouraged to take full advantage of the program and to get and use all their checks for free produce. Health officials suggest using the checks before Thanksgiving, since most Farmers Markets close for the season a week before the holiday.
In addition to summer fruits and vegetables, the list of produce that will become available in the 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 $21,590 for a family of one; $29,101 for 2; $36,612 for 3; $44,123 for 4; $51,634 for 5; $59,145 for 6; $66,656 for 7; and $74,167 for 8. Add $7,511 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.