The department will be able to serve 1,100 people for WIC every month in Phelps and Maries counties.

The Phelps Maries County Health Department announced that a contract to continue to provide WIC services for the federal fiscal year 2021 has been signed with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Under the terms of the contract, the Phelps Maries County Health Department said the department will be able to serve 1,100 persons eligible for WIC every month. 

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a special supplemental nutrition program providing services to pregnant women, new mothers, infants and children up to their fifth birthday based on nutritional risk and income eligibility.

According to the Phelps Maries County Health Department, the primary services provided are health screening, risk assessment, nutrition education and counseling, breastfeeding promotion and referrals to health care. Nutritious supplemental food is provided at no cost to participants. To be eligible for WIC applicants must have an income of less than or equal to 185% of the poverty level and be determined by a health professional to be at nutritional risk. Migrant families are also eligible. 

WIC supplemental food packages are specially chosen to provide foods high in protein, iron, calcium, and vitamins A and C. The Phelps Maries County Health Department said eligible women and children receive fortified milk/milk substitutes, cheese, yogurt, eggs, beans, peanut butter, whole grain products, and hot or cold cereals, 100% fruit juices and fresh or frozen vegetables. The WIC program recommends breastfeeding, provides breastfeeding support, baby foods and infant cereal. For women who cannot or choose not to breastfeed, infants may receive supplemental iron fortified formula. WIC participants obtain their foods by redeeming food checks for specific items at local grocery stores and pharmacies.

Studies confirm that pregnant women who enroll in WIC during the early months of pregnancy have fewer low birth weight babies, experience fewer infant deaths, see the doctor earlier in pregnancy and eat healthier. 

WIC is administered in Phelps County for Phelps and Maries counties by the Phelps Maries County Health Department. Persons interested in applying or who are in need of more information should contact the department at 573-458-6010 or 1-800-301-4942.