Published: July 2020

Publisher: Healthy Eating Research

Authors: Bleich S, Dunn C, Kenney E, Fleischhacker S

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The USDA Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides critical nutrition assistance to lower-income women, infants, and young children. During the coronavirus pandemic, unemployment has risen to levels greater than experienced during the Great Recession, and food insecurity has also increased, making WIC’s role more important than ever. This research brief focuses on how to strengthen WIC’s impact during and after COVID-19. The brief summarizes the evidence of WIC’s benefits and challenges the program and participants are facing due to COVID-19. The brief addresses what actions are needed in addition to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed by Congress, which provided $500 million for 2020 to support increases in WIC enrollment. The brief suggests increasing access to telemedicine, expanding online food package ordering, in addition to steps already taken, including minimum stocking requirements and food package substitutions for added flexibility.

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