Each year the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) announces the Loving Support Award of Excellence program. The award program was established to recognize local WIC agencies that have provided exemplary breastfeeding promotion and support activities. The intent is to provide models and motivate other local agencies to strengthen their breastfeeding promotion and support activities and ultimately increase breastfeeding initiation and duration rates among WIC participants.
The award is given at three levels of performance that build on one another: Gold, Gold Premiere, and Gold Elite. This approach recognizes three groups of agencies that include those that are demonstrating model practices, as well as those who are at varying stages of implementing exemplary breastfeeding promotion and support practices.
In 2018, FNS awarded 78 Gold Loving Support Awards of Excellence certificates to WIC local agencies and 12 WIC local agencies received Premiere certificates. In 2017, a total of 83 WIC local agencies received Gold award including 5 Indian Tribal Organizations; 6 WIC local agencies received Premiere award and 1 local agency received an Elite award. In 2016, a total of 75 WIC local agencies received Gold award and 8 WIC local agencies received Premiere award. In 2015, a total of 50 agencies were selected for a Gold award and 5 agencies were selected for a Gold Premier award.