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USDA Continues to Modernize, Innovate WIC Program to Improve Maternal, Child Health

Press Release
Release No.
Contact: FNS Press Team

Washington, April 18, 2023 - The Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service is announcing a series of grant opportunities funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 aimed at innovating and modernizing the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, known as WIC. These projects will advance the agency’s mission of supporting child health by improving the WIC experience for current participants; reaching more eligible moms, babies, and young children; and serving them throughout the entire time they’re eligible for WIC’s support and resources.

“USDA is working hard to ensure that every child receives the nutrition they need to achieve their full potential, and WIC’s proven benefits are vital to that effort,” said Stacy Dean, deputy under secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services. “We have been actively listening to the experiences of our WIC participants and specifically designed these funding opportunities to address their needs. We’re committed to supporting a modern WIC program that is well-suited to serve WIC moms and their little ones today and for generations to come.”

FNS is inviting WIC state agencies to apply for several grant opportunities for projects aimed at:

  • Planning and implementing efforts to improve the WIC shopping experience. This includes improving the in-store experience by making it easier to identify WIC products, streamlining the checkout experience through innovations such as mobile pay, and working toward online shopping (up to $1,100,000 available per state agency).
  • Planning and implementing efforts to make WIC easier to access through technologies, such as text messaging, mobile-friendly websites, appointment scheduling, and language tools (up to $1,100,000 available per state agency).
  • Supporting electronic payments in the WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program so that participants can more conveniently buy fresh and locally grown fruits and vegetables (up to $350,000 available per state or group of state agencies).

In the coming weeks, USDA and the Food Research & Action Center will announce subgrant awards to WIC state and local agencies, community organizations, and other nonprofits to use community-level data to test new ways of delivering WIC messaging and conducting outreach. USDA is working with FRAC through a competitively awarded cooperative agreement.

WIC is one of the most powerful, evidence-based public health programs available, with a long history of improving health and developmental outcomes for children. Participants receive food packages tailored to meet their specific needs, key resources – including nutrition education, breastfeeding support and immunization screening – and referrals to health and social services. Working in tandem with other USDA nutrition assistance programs, WIC plays an important role in building a brighter, healthier future for America’s children.

The opportunities highlighted today are part of FNS’s ongoing efforts to innovate and modernize in WIC and the WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. For example, the department recently announced proposed changes to pave the way for online shopping using WIC benefits. These initiatives also support the White House Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis, which is focused on cutting the rates of maternal mortality and morbidity, reducing the disparities in maternal health outcomes, and improving the overall experience of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum for people across the country.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service works to end hunger and improve food and nutrition security through a suite of more than 15 nutrition assistance programs, such as the school breakfast and lunch programs, WIC and SNAP. Together, these programs serve 1 in 4 Americans over the course of a year, promoting consistent and equitable access to healthy, safe, and affordable food essential to optimal health and well-being. FNS also provides science-based nutrition recommendations through the co-development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. FNS’s report, “Leveraging the White House Conference to Promote and Elevate Nutrition Security: The Role of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service,” highlights ways the agency will support the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. Today's action is part of that strategy, which provides a roadmap of actions the federal government will take to end hunger and reduce diet-related diseases by 2030 - all while reducing disparities. It was released in conjunction with the first White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in over 50 years, hosted by President Biden on Sept. 28, 2022. To learn more about FNS, visit and follow @USDANutrition.

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Page updated: April 19, 2023