WIC benefits increasing for local families to purchase healthy foods


By Chandler Griffin
San Juan Basin Public Health

San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) is pleased to announce that participants in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program will see a significant increase in the portion of their benefits that can be used to pay for fresh produce. 

The temporary increase is thanks to funds made available by the American Rescue Act. Pregnant women and parents or legal guardians for children under the age of 5 are encouraged to apply for the SJBPH program to access these benefits. 

As an example, direct benefits for fruits and vegetables are tripling. The new amount just for fruits and vegetables will be $35 per month for each mom and child on WIC for June through September 2021. WIC also provides milk, whole grains, cereal, eggs and more to enrolled families. 

This generous increase helps support WIC participants’ needs for healthy foods, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. With this increase, WIC benefits can offset grocery expenses equal to about $85 per person per month. These benefits provide much-needed financial flexibility for families in Archuleta County so they can afford other necessities like bills, gas, health programs or school supplies. 

“The WIC program is all about helping moms and dads provide the best for themselves and their children. We know that some families need help along the way, including many who have seen paychecks and opportunities dry up during the COVID-19 pandemic. These increased benefits will help them pay for healthy foods that their family needs to thrive,” said Liane Jollon, executive director of SJBPH. “We are proud to support this program and want as many eligible local families as possible to join.” 

“The WIC program is really helping my little family to grow up healthy and happy. Whether it was nutrition guides, formula changes or help purchasing healthy groceries, this program is so important for my family. It was easy to apply and I encourage others to contact SJBPH about WIC,” said Brittany, a local WIC participant.

Many families are eligible for WIC. If you’re a father, mother, grandparent, foster parent or other legal guardian of a child under 5, you can apply for WIC. Individuals who receive Health First Colorado (Medicaid) are automatically eligible for WIC and even those who are over income for Health First Colorado may qualify; one may be on WIC and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) at the same time.

You can participate in WIC if you:

• Live in Colorado (U.S. citizenship is not required).

• Are pregnant or recently had a baby, and/or have a child younger than 5 years.

• Have a family income that meets WIC guidelines.

• Currently receive Health First Colorado (Medicaid), SNAP, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservation (FDPIR). This provides automatic eligibility. 

• Have a foster child under age 5.

If you are interested in learning more about the WIC program at SJBPH, visit https://sjbpublichealth.org/wic/ or call (970) 335-2018.