WIC is not designed to be a disaster assistance program, and is, therefore, not considered a first response option for disaster survivors. WIC policies allow state agencies flexibility in program design and administration to support continuation of benefits to participants during times of natural or other disasters. WIC state agencies are encouraged to work with state and local emergency services offices, as well as FEMA, to assist participants during a disaster.
WIC was established as a permanent program in 1974 to safeguard the health of low-income women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk. This mission is carried out by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, nutrition education (including breastfeeding promotion and support), and referrals to health and other social services.
Stewardship of federal funds is a basic expectation of American taxpayers and is critical to the ongoing success of nutrition assistance programs. FNS continuously works to detect, prevent, and minimize errors and improper payments, as well as fraud, waste, or abuse. In this way, FNS preserves public trust, enhances partner relationships, and provides excellent customer service to program participants.
FNS plays a vital role in providing supplemental nutrition assistance when disasters occur by coordinating with state, local, and voluntary organizations to: (1) provide food for shelters and other mass feeding sites, (2) distribute food packages directly to households in specific situations, (3) offer flexibility in nutrition assistance programs’ design and administration to continue providing benefits to participants in need, and (4) approve eligible states’ requests to operate a Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children serves low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk. WIC provides participants with nutritious foods to supplement participant diets, nutrition education, and referrals to health and other social services.
In the event of a Presidential Disaster Declaration, FNS can procure and provide an emergency supply of infant formula and food to supplement a state’s or FEMA's disaster feeding efforts.
Immunizing children against certain diseases is one important way to help them stay healthy. WIC’s mission is to be a partner with other services that are important to childhood and family well-being, such as immunizations. As an adjunct to services that provide immunizations, the WIC program’s role is to find out about a child’s need for immunizations and share that information with parents, including where to get a child immunized.
WIC is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. WIC provides nutritious foods (primarily through retail grocery stores), nutrition counseling, and referrals to health care and social services.
Recently, the method used to calculate the number of individuals eligible for the WIC program was evaluated and an improved methodology was developed.