July 16 2004

WIC Working to Help Latino Families

Many families qualify but still aren’t getting help they need for their children

Latino families worried about good nutrition for their children have a partner in the community ready to help them. The American Red Cross Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) assists families that include children under the age of five, pregnant and breastfeeding women, or a woman who has recently had a baby.

“Many families don’t know there is help available to them from Spanish-speaking nutrition experts to help their children grow happy and healthy, and provide vouchers to buy nutritious foods,” explains Cindy Rich, WIC Director. “We know many other things are becoming more expensive, like milk and gasoline. At times like these, people may need WIC, and we want to help,” Rich says.

WIC is a program that provides its participants with nutrition education, no-cost nutritious foods and breast-feeding support and referrals to other helpful community programs. It assures that young children get a healthy start on life by providing services to pregnant women, new mothers, infants and children.

WIC’s nutrition education and nutritious food is available to a wider range of participants than many people think. “All you need to do is meet our income guidelines, and they are very generous,” says Rich. “For example, a young couple expecting their first baby would qualify with $2,416 in monthly income. A family of four with an annual income of $34,873 would also be eligible for our program. Even those who have had higher incomes would qualify if their job situation has changed and they have dropped below our income guidelines,” Rich says. You do not need to be an American citizen or legal resident to qualify for WIC assistance, and getting help from WIC will not affect any individual’s ability to apply for citizenship.

Rich encourages people not to be shy about using the WIC program. “We know some people qualify, but they don’t want to come talk to us because they want to be self-sufficient. We really understand their concerns,” Rich says.

For information about the American Red Cross WIC program, call 800-500-6411 toll free or visit the website at www.sdarc.org/wic

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