WIC Food benefits see temporary cash increase, permanent approved food addition

Oklahoma state agencies provide assistance to families in need through various programs like Women, Children & Infants program and Oklahoma Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP – the latter of which is accepted for produce purchases at Mustang’s Wild Horse Markets and Garden farmers market. (Photo by Traci Chapman)

SNAP available locally at farmers market

By Traci Chapman
Staff Writer

Oklahoma State Department of Health has announced a new temporary benefit cash increase and an addition in foods allowed for purchase with those benefits for those enrolled in the agency’s Women, Infants & Children Program.

The temporary increase is to the program’s cash value benefit – from $9 per month to $35 per month and continuing from June 1 through Sept. 30. That increase was made possible through funding from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, officials said Friday.

The increase should be seen automatically in benefits received by current participants, they said.

Also added were some canned fruits and vegetables to the approved WIC food list. Until now only fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables could be purchased with cash value benefits; stipulations were in place for canned selections.

Fruits must conformed to standards set by the Food and Drug Administration – with fruit listed first on ingredients and no added sugars, sodium, oils or fats. Items include applesauce, juice or water packed fruit.

Canned vegetables must also follow FDA standards, with the vegetable listed as the primary, or first, ingredient and without added fats, sugars or oils. Canned vegetables eligible for CVB purchases may be low sodium or regular, officials said.

Local assistance is also available for those who are seeking help with food insecurity or nutritious options. Wildhorse Gardens and Market’s first farmers market of the season was set for June 5 as of press time. The market accepts SNAP – Oklahoma Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – benefits, thanks to a Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust grant obtained by the Mustang community garden in 2019. That grant was part of TSET’s Healthy Living Program, which awards grants to organizations providing healthy food and promoting better health for all Oklahomans and allows SNAP recipients to purchase fresh locally grown produce.

WIC is an education, nutrition and supplemental food program funded federally and designed for pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants and children to the age of 5 years.
According to state health department data, the agency provided WIC service to 792,979 women and children statewide during the 2020 fiscal year, 17,645 of them in Canadian County.

Those with incomes falling below 185% of the poverty level and exhibiting nutritional risk may be eligible for the program. Applications and additional information are available on OSDH’s family health/WIC-dedicated web page, located at https://oklahoma.gov/health/family-health/wic.html, including nutritional and health resources, breastfeeding support and more. The department may also be contacted by calling 888-655-2942.

SNAP is administered by Oklahoma Department of Human Services. Anyone seeking more information about Oklahoma SNAP programs can go online to https://oklahoma.gov/okdhs/services/snap.html, send an email to [email protected] or call 877-653-4798.

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