Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children

WIC RESOURCES

WIC DURING COVID-19

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial to preserve access to the Tennessee Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) which provides healthy food, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and social service referrals to low-income families with young children. 

Due to the negative impacts of the COVID-19 virus on public health and the economy, more families are becoming eligible for the program and need access to healthy food to prevent their families from going hungry. 

Hunger during early childhood has negative health consequences that ripple far beyond the current moment, affecting the health of Tennessee families and communities for years to come. The Tennessee Justice Center is committed to helping protect, strengthen, and improve access to the program so families are not faced with hunger. 

PROGRAM CHANGES TO KNOW ABOUT

In response to CDC guidelines recommending social distancing, most WIC appointments in Tennessee are now by phone. Participants are encouraged to call 1-800-DIAL-WIC or go to www.tn.gov/wic to contact their local WIC clinic for details. 

If you or someone you know is having trouble reaching your local WIC clinic due to limited phone access, limited internet access, or other barriers, please contact Kelli Klein at kklein@tnjustice.org for assistance. 

Effective through May 31, 2020, the Tennessee WIC Program has implemented four statewide waivers granted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act: 

  1. Physical Presence Waiver: waives the requirements that certain appointments be done in-person and bloodwork performed.  
  2. Remote Benefit Issuance Waiver: Allows benefits to be issued without fulfillment of the second nutrition education requirement. 
  3. Food Package Substitution Waiver: In response to grocery store inventory limitations, allows for substitutions in the following aspects of the WIC food package: (a) Milk: Participants can substitute milk of any available fat content; (b) Whole Wheat/Whole Grain Bread: Participants can purchase package sizes up to 24 ounce when 16-ounce packages are unavailable; (c) Canned Fish: Participants can purchase 2.5-2.6 ounce packages when other packages are unavailable. 
  4. Minimum Stock Waiver: Waives minimum stocking requirements for fruit, vegetables, and whole grain cereals for vendor assessment and monitoring. 

Waiver details can be found on USDA’s COVID-19 Waivers & Flexibilities website for Tennessee.

TAKE ACTION

  • Join our WIC Champions group to stay up to date on TN WIC current issues, best practices, and policy changes: Click here
  • Contact Sarah Henson at shenson@tnjustice.org to share your WIC story: How has WIC helped you or someone you know during the pandemic? Have you faced barriers to accessing the program? Tell us about it.
  • Check out our FeedTN social media toolkit for sample posts here.