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.
Strengthening WIC’s Impact During and After the COVID‑19 Pandemic
The USDA Online Purchasing Pilot, which allows SNAP participants to shop and pay for groceries online, rapidly expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic. From March 2020 to March 2021, the number of participating states increased from 5 to 47. This brief assesses whether the Pilot promotes healthy food access (using the … More
Acceptability, Preference, and No-Show Rates for In-Person and Phone-Based Consultations at Nine WIC Centers in New York City Before and During COVID-19
Access to WIC benefits typically requires an in-person visit to a WIC center, however this became a challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic due to recommendations for social distancing to minimize and prevent the spread of the virus. As a result, in-person requirements were removed for all visits, except first time … More
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest United States Department of Agriculture federal nutrition assistance program. As an entitlement program, SNAP is designed to expand as incomes fall, enabling the program to respond quickly when need increases. For example, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, SNAP served an average … More