WIC, a federally funded health and nutrition program facilitated by the County, helps families by providing nutrition education, ability to purchase specific nutritious foods to improve nutritional intake, breastfeeding classes, individual support for lactating mothers and food prescriptions tailored to the nutritional needs of breastfeeding women; and making referrals to healthcare and other community services. Each month more than 22,000 people in Sacramento County use WIC benefits.
“Sacramento County is excited to announce that we recently replaced paper food checks with the new California WIC Card, an electronic EBT-style card,” said Amelia Schendel, RD, IBCLC, WIC Director.
The California WIC Card
looks and acts similar to a debit card and allows for more flexibility and improves the grocery checkout experience. All eligible Sacramento County families are encouraged to participate in this benefit to improve nutrition for better health.
Those in Sacramento County’s WIC program receive:
- Nutritious foods using the California WIC Card that works like an electronic EBT card
- Nutrition classes onsite or online
- Meetings with a nutrition counselor
- Breastfeeding classes, individual support for lactating mothers and food prescriptions tailored to the nutritional needs of breastfeeding women.
- Enhanced lactation services (Funded by First 5 Sacramento)
- Referrals to community programs
You may qualify for WIC if your income meets the eligibility guidelines, and you are:
- Low to medium-income (185% of federal poverty level). A family of four in California can earn up to $47,638 per year and qualify for WIC benefits.
- Pregnant or have been pregnant within the last six months, and/or have a child under the age of five years old
NOTE: U.S. citizenship is not a requirement for receiving benefits and WIC is not a public charge program. If you are eligible for Medi-Cal, CalWORKS or CalFresh (Food Stamps), you may also meet the income eligibility for WIC.
- WIC services have prevented 7,575 preterm births.
- For each $1 spent on prenatal WIC participants, there was a mean savings of $2.48.
- Mothers who accepted Breastfeeding Peer Counseling referrals and had at least one phone conversation or in-person contact had a significant 35 – 164 percent increased odds of positive breastfeeding outcomes.
- WIC mothers experienced a lower likelihood of inadequate gestation weight gain.
- The diet quality improved for the roughly 4 million children who are served by WIC.
- Preschoolers from low-income families living in cities that took part in a two-year community-wide intervention to foster healthy eating and lifestyle habits consumed fewer sugary drinks, got more sleep and showed improvement in weight.
Volunteer opportunities are also available at WIC. The majority of volunteers are students, graduates or dietetic interns from California State University, Sacramento and the University of California, Davis. The volunteer program provides interns and new graduates an opportunity to gain valuable experience in community nutrition and to explore their career interests. Many volunteers become dedicated to the work that WIC does and either have sought a career with WIC as a Nutrition Assistant or Dietitian or are inspired to pursue a career path along the lines of public health, social work or lactation. In 2018, volunteers contributed a total of 2,087 hours.