Burlington County is continuing to provide services to new and expecting mothers and young children.
The Burlington County Health Department’s Women Infants and Children program reported 3,400 women and children received aid through the program this past February, an increase of around 15% compared to February 2022.
Last month, the program’s numbers rose again to 3,516 participants.
The program, also known as WIC, provides supplemental food, nutrition education, health care referrals and other social services to income-eligible pregnant women, new mothers and children 5-years-old and younger.
“As a mom myself, I know the challenges new and expecting mothers face. Making sure new mothers and their children have access to nutritious foods, health care and other assistance is one of our most important County services,” said Burlington County Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson. “The Health Department and WIC staff provide outstanding services to our residents as they continue to enroll more eligible mothers, infants and children with the program. The assistance can make a world of difference for these families.”
WIC households come from all parts of Burlington County, including military families residing on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.
WIC services include supplemental nutrition assistance to purchase foods rich in calcium, protein, iron and fiber. Enrolled clients receive their benefits electronically and redeem them with their eWIC card, which can be used like a debit card to purchase healthy foods from numerous New Jersey stores and other authorized locations.
The electronic system was launched last year and is credited with some of the program’s enrollment growth.
The Burlington County WIC program has also boosted support services for breastfeeding mothers and has an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and three peer counselors on staff.
Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months of a baby’s life by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization. Research shows it provides infants with nutrition and supports healthy brain and immune system development.
The WIC program also collaborates with Virtua Health to raise awareness about lead exposure and how a healthy diet can help mitigate some of the effects from exposure. WIC also collaborated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s SNAP-Ed program to host two online cooking classes in observance of National Nutrition Month.
As part of the program, the County also distributes $30 farmers market vouchers that can be used to purchase fresh produce at the Burlington County Agricultural Center’s weekly Farmers Market in Moorestown and other participating farm stands. Beginning this year, the benefits will be redeemed electronically using a QR Code.
A total of $40,000 worth of farmers market vouchers were distributed to Burlington County WIC enrollees last year.
“Burlington County is one of the healthiest places to live in America for a lot of reasons and one of them is our WIC program and the great job they do educating new and expecting mothers to help them and their children get off to a healthy start,” said Commissioner Dan O’Connell, the liaison to the Burlington County Health Department. “The programs and support offered by WIC are completely free to eligible mothers and children, and we want to encourage as many residents as possible to take advantage of them.”
For more information about WIC, visit https://wic.nj.gov/participantportal/en/ or call 609-267-4304.