In an effort to become more "user friendly," the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program has expanded its hours in Salt Lake County.
Evening appointments are available at most of the county's seven locations. And the Kearns office, 5255 S. 4015 West, is open for business Saturday mornings.The WIC program is designed for low-income women who are pregnant, who are breastfeeding or who have a child under age 6 months, as well as infants and children up to age 5.
The program provides vouchers so that these low-income families can purchase nutritious foods including milk, cheese, cereal, juice, peanut butter and beans.
Emphasis is also placed on providing education about nutrition, said county program coordinator Marie White.
"Nutrition education is a real focus of the program," she said. "To teach people not only what to eat and how, but about social interaction during meals with the children. We also offer breastfeeding counseling and on our staff we have several lactation educators. Breast feeding is such an important part of keeping an infant healthy."
White said other services include classes on nutrition, meal preparation, how to can food safely and even dental clinics.
The WIC program serves families up to 185 percent of the federal poverty line, or $2,213 monthly for a family of four before taxes. Because many of the families who qualify are "working poor," the clinic hours were expanded.
White estimates that about 55 percent of the families who could use WIC actually do. Many of the families that qualify but do not receive help are believed to be working poor who can't get into the office during business hours.
WIC is a federally funded program administered, like food stamps, through the Department of Agriculture. It is operated by the Division of Family Health Services in the Salt Lake City-County Health Department.
To find the nearest location and the business hours, call 468-2720.