For area residents who are a part of the WIC (Women, Infants, Chldren) program Huntingdon County, as well as Bedford and Fulton Counties, there will be a new way for them to shop for WIC food benefits beginning in September.
In September, those who use WIC food benefits will use an electronic benefits transfer, and there will be no more paper checks sent to WIC recipients.
As part of this change, WIC participants will save time at the checkout and can buy WIC foods in as many shopping trips as they need throughout the month. Those who participate may also have access to a new WICShopper Smart Phone App, allowing them to scan a food’s bar code to determine if it is a WIC-allowed food.
This means that paper checks will be a thing of the past, according to Melissa Mobley, director for the WIC program in Huntingdon, Bedford and Fulton counties.
“WIC is excited to offer a new, convenient way for our families to shop,” said Mobley.
Mobley also explained how this will make shopping easier for those who receive these benefits.
“Shopping can be done on demand for whatever WIC item is needed,” said Mobley. “With paper checks, customers had to purchase all the items on a single check at one time. If someone needs just a half gallon or milk, or a few bananas, eWIC makes that possible. Depending on the store, WIC items may also be purchased with other grocery items — there won’t be a need to even separate out WIC foods.”
She also mentioned how the app can be used for those who download it.
“The PA WIC food list identifies products that are available and allowed by WIC,” said Mobley. “The WIC Shopper app allows customers to scan a product and see if it’s WIC allowed. The app does not tell customers if the product is available in their current WIC prescription.”
WIC provides services at over 250 clinic sites throughout Pennsylvania, and WIC serves approximately 205,000 pregnant women, infants and children under age 5. These WIC families shop at more than 1,500 grocery stores in the state.
Total spending from WIC recipients throughout the state is around $248 million a year with their WIC food benefits.