Through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) at the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH), participants statewide are now able to use eWIC benefit cards to get healthy food more easily.
eWIC benefit cards work like debit cards: simply swipe and enter your PIN. The cards are accepted at 275 authorized locations, including 160 grocery stores, 103 grocery stores with pharmacies, and 12 independent pharmacies across Mississippi.
Because WIC’s emphasis is on healthy eating for mothers, infants and children, eWIC cards can be used to buy milk, cereal, yogurt, juice, eggs, cheese, peanut butter, beans, whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat and corn tortillas, fresh, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables, baby formula and baby food. Each participant has a unique food package and may not be eligible to get all food items.
“This is a dramatic increase in access from the 95 WIC food distribution centers we were operating. This change gives our clients more variety of food options and more flexibility in when and where they shop,” said Diane W. Hargrove, Director of the WIC program.
WIC is a supplemental food program for pregnant, breastfeeding, and post-partum women, infants, and children under 5. The program helps mothers and babies get healthy foods and healthy advice in the first years of life. Each eWIC card will have a unique account number. WIC will use that number to send benefits to the account each month. Any WIC benefits that are not used during the monthly cycle do not roll over. WIC will reload the card when the next benefit period begins.
In April, MSDH announced it would close all 81 of its WIC food distribution sites in the months ahead in favor of eWIC cards.
For additional information about WIC and an updated list of authorized vendors, visit the website at www.HealthyMS.com/WIC, or call (601) 991-6000 or toll-free 1-800-545-6747.