"Its [purpose is] to add something extra to what the recipients already receive because they will receive their normal vouchers, and in addition, they also get the farmer's market produce," said Carie Brown, nutritionist for the Bartow County Health Department, adding the individuals received $30 worth of free produce at the market. "It's doesn't replace their normal voucher. [During the market] we [also] have a dietitian actually go though different things you can do as far as cooking the fresh fruits and vegetables and, of course, the nutrition value of the vegetables and fruit, and also the serving sizes and what you require from each food group every day."
As of Friday morning, about 2,500 Bartow County residents were enrolled in the WIC program.
"WIC provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, healthcare referrals and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age 5 who are found to be at nutritional risk. ... Georgia's WIC is the nation's fifth-largest Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children," said Logan Boss, public information officer for Northwest Georgia Public Health, in an email to The Daily Tribune News. "The Food and Nutrition Service administers the program at the federal level and provides funds to state agencies for implementation. At the state level, the Georgia Department of Public Health, Maternal and Child Health Program, Office of Nutrition and WIC administers the program."
To receive assistance from the WIC program, applicants must be a Georgia resident; have a child younger than 5; a woman who is pregnant or breastfeeding; and have a nutritional need. They also must meet WIC family income guidelines, such as having an annual income below $26,955 for a two-member household.
According to Georgia WIC promotional materials, "Georgia WIC's goal is to help keep pregnant and breastfeeding women and kids under age 5 healthy. To do this, WIC provides personalized nutrition consultations; vouchers to buy free, healthy food; tips for eating well to improve health; referrals for medical and dental care, health insurance, child care, housing and fuel assistance, and other services that can benefit the whole family.
"Georgia WIC also offers breastfeeding classes, one-on-one breastfeeding support, as well as immunization screening and referrals. In addition, Georgia WIC provides parents with opportunities to talk with other parents about nutrition and other health topics that are important to their families."
For more information about the WIC program, call the Bartow County Health Department at 770-382-1920. The next WIC Summer Farmer's Market will be Aug. 4 from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 6:30 p.m. at the health department, 100 Zena Drive in Cartersville.