Pregnant women and families with babies and young children in northwest Springfield now have improved access to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.
The health department opened a new WIC office at 2105 W. Kearney Street a few months ago and celebrated with an open house and tours on Friday.
The new WIC office was created to make WIC services accessible to more eligible families in Greene County. Since it opened nearly four months ago, more than 3,200 WIC members have received food package benefits, nutrition education, breastfeeding support and other services in what was once a dental clinic across Kearney from Tom Watkins Park.
“We are proud to be able to help families in our community access the resources they need to provide a healthy nourished life for themselves and their children,” Katie Towns, director of Springfield-Greene County Health, said at the opening event. “We all know the difference that even a little bit of help can make in the lives of a new family.
“That is why I’m proud,” she continued, “that I am a WIC baby. And now as a mom, I can tell you what a difference a program like WIC can make in the lives of families and in children.”
WIC is a federal program administered locally by the Springfield-Greene County Health Department to provide supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age 5 who are found to be at nutritional risk.
According to the Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service website, WIC serves about half of all infants born in the United States.
Julie Randolph, WIC supervisor at the new location, pointed out that WIC services are available not just to moms, but also to dads, foster families and grandparents raising grandchildren.
“Not every family expects to need the support of WIC,” Randolph said. “But nonetheless we are here when they do.
“There are so many families in our community that would benefit from the services we offer that simply don’t realize they are eligible,” Randolph said. “If you live in Greene County, meet certain income guidelines, are pregnant, breastfeeding, have an infant or child up to age, you may qualify for WIC services.”
According to Towns, there are nearly 4,000 people in this community who are receiving services like Medicaid and are eligible for WIC, but they are not connected with the program.
“There are even more families who have not been connected to any of the resources in our community but are eligible to be WIC members,” Towns said. “Talk to your friends and family who are expecting or who have newborns or children under the age of 5. Let them know that WIC works and we are here to support you and your children in the beginning of their lives.
“Ensuring our children are afforded the opportunity to be healthy, to be nurtured, to be supported is not only the right thing to do,” she said, “but it also makes the community a better place.”
Springfield Zone 1 Councilwoman Monica Horton was among those who attended Friday’s open house. The Springfield-Greene County Library, Park Board and Dickerson Park Zoo hosted activities for families and children as part of the event.
Are you eligible for WIC?
- You must live in Missouri
- Your household income may be no more than 185% of the federal poverty income guidelines. See the income guidelines for more information.
- You must be a pregnant person, breastfeeding an infant up to the infant’s first birthday, postpartum up to six months after delivery (or end of pregnancy), an infant up to one year, or a child up to age 5.
- Individuals who meet income and category guidelines will have a nutrition and health assessment completed during the certification process.
Check your eligibility using the WIC prescreen tool.
If you have questions or are ready to participate in WIC, call 417-864-1540.
Learn more on the Springfield-Greene County Health website.