WIC rolls out new tools to make its program easier and more convenient for Durham parents

Jonae BrownNews, Programs2 Comments

WIC Logo

WIC families no longer have to worry about making time for inconvenient appointments or delaying checkout times at grocery stores when using WIC benefits. Durham families in need of optimally nutritious food for their infants and children will find WIC to be less hassle and more convenient thanks to new features

WIC is a federal grant program that provides nutrition and healthcare benefits for low-income families with children under the age of five. The program is open to anyone that meets eligibility requirements.

Here are some of the requirements (may vary depending on your circumstance):

  • Pregnant women, breastfeeding moms, or under special circumstances a father or custodial guardian of children under the age of 5 are eligible
  • Low Income Household (must show proof)
  • Nutritional risks including Breastfeeding mom that needs support, an infant that needs support, a child that needs support, underweight, overweight, hemoglobin issues
  • Must live in NC (proof of residency is required)
  • Citizens and non-citizens encouraged to join. WIC does not check Visas or citizenship statuses of their applicants.
  • Identification or ID
Lincoln Community Health Center in Durham, NC

In recent years, WIC sign-ups in Durham County have been dropping off at an alarming rate. If the decline of sign-ups continues, then this could result in a loss of funding for the WIC program and employee layoffs. The WIC department at Lincoln Community Health Center has been working hard to assess the causes of decreased sign-ups. They hope to improve the accessibility of the program for their clients by making the program more user-friendly and convenient.

Holly Branch is the Director of the WIC program in Durham County. She manages the day to day operations of four different WIC clinics across Durham (see below for locations). We got the opportunity to catch up with Branch to learn more about WIC’s new benefits and how new and existing members can take advantage of them.

One of the newest WIC benefits is their partnership with Head Start. Head Start is a child development and family support program that provides center-based services and childcare to low-income families with children from age birth to 3.

Branch says that the partnership with Head Start allows for a more family-friendly process for WIC appointments. Parents will not have to worry about the hassle of picking up their child and bringing them to appointments or missing excessive time at work to make appointments.

“They can come into the clinic, get the anthropometric (body) measurements, a finger stick, and put the child into the classroom. They can come back [to pick up their child from school], we have a chit-chat, and then we issue their WIC benefits. End of the day,” Branch said.

Some of the new benefits include:

WIC new card
Downloadable App for your phone to access WIC benefits.
  • E-WIC cards – which can be used to swipe for WIC approved foods in an instant. The traditional way to use this benefit included the cashier creating two separate transactions: one for WIC approved food items and one for regular foods items. With the e-WIC card, you no longer have to separate transactions. Now the e-WIC cards will automatically account for the WIC approved food items in one single transaction and if there are remaining items that are not WIC approved, you will be able to use traditional forms of payment for the remaining balance.
  • WIChealth.org – Allows you to skip the trip to the WIC office or appointments by completing the nutrition education lessons online. After the lesson is complete, contact the WIC office and they will issue benefits over the phone instead of having to come in to see the nutritionist.
  • Social Media accounts – WIC has gone social! Connect with Durham County’s WIC office under Lincoln Community Health Center’s Facebook Page or their Youtube which includes informative videos on breastfeeding.
  • Durham’s Farmers Market Double Bucks WIC members have access to fresh local food and produce with their e-WIC card. There is an incentive that also allows members to double their benefits to use at the Durham’s Farmers Market.

Existing benefits available:

  • Breastfeeding support groups – Durham County’s WIC department provides breastfeeding peer counselors who host monthly breastfeeding support groups for mothers in the program. Mothers also have 24/7 access to online videos addressing most key issues with breastfeeding.
  • “Warm Line” – If mothers are having pain or breastfeeding issues, they can leave a message on a warm line and they will receive a follow-up call within 24 hours from the WIC office.

For existing WIC clients, contact the Durham County WIC office for more information about how to take advantage of these benefits. If not currently using the WIC program but would like to sign up, contact Lincoln Community Health Center WIC office about how to get started. Registration for the WIC program must be done in the office. The initial appointment will take about an hour to be completed.

Durham County WIC Program Office Locations
Applicants are encouraged to schedule an appointment, however, walk-ins may be accommodated.

Lincoln Community Health Center
1301 Fayetteville Street
Durham, NC 27707
Telephone: (919) 956- 4042
Hours: 7:30 am – 6:00 pm – Monday – Friday

Satellite Clinic Locations:

Live Well Office Bldg.
3901 N. Roxboro Street, Suite 103
Durham, NC 27704
Telephone: (919) 403-1300
Hours: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm – Monday – Friday

Durham County Human Services Building
414 East Main Street
Durham, NC 27701
Telephone: (919) 560- 7824
Hours: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm – Monday – Friday
(Closed 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm daily for lunch)

Durham Head Start
215 West Seminary Ave
Durham, NC 27701
Telephone: (919) 688-0237
Hours: 8:00am – 5:00pm Wednesdays Only
(Closed for Lunch 12:00pm – 1:00 pm)

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