WIC replaces food checks with plastic card

Courtesy photo

“I’m really happy that WIC just gave me a WIC Card. It’s so much better than the food checks,” Ivonne Meza said recently. Meza lives in Paramount and is a WIC participant at the Paramount WIC Center.

Meza is able purchase healthy food for her daughter, Mia Rose Nava. She became a WIC mom four years ago, when she was pregnant. Her daughter Aliza Nava, 11, used to be a WIC participant also.

The WIC Card is like a debit card. Using it is more private than using food checks. And there’s a free WIC app that shows parents their food balance and other information too.

“I’ve already used the WIC Card,” Meza said. “I really like it. I’ve used the app too. It’s easy to use and really cool. I actually enjoyed using it!”

Meza said her favorite thing about the WIC Card is that she doesn’t have to purchase all her food at once. Using the WIC Card is easier than using WIC food checks.

“We are really excited that the CA WIC Card has just arrived. Our WIC families are too,” Diane Gaspard said. Gaspard is Chief of Community Health Services at South Los Angeles Health Projects, which manages 11 WIC centers.

Since 1974, WIC has enabled WIC parents to purchase extra food, such as fruit and vegetables that they might not be able to afford otherwise. Each “food package” is remaining the same as it’s been.

“There’s a free WIC app that parents with a smart phone can download from their phones’ app stores. It’s not necessary to use an app, but it’s helpful. All they need to do is search for “California WIC” to download it,” Gaspard said.

“Once parents have their CA WIC Card, they will be able to access the app’s special features. For example, they will be able to keep track of what they’ve already bought and which foods they haven’t bought yet.

“If parents don’t have an app, that’s OK. They can see their food balance at the market on their receipt. Or they can ask for a printout of their food balance at their WIC Center.

“WIC is doing everything we can to make it simple for our parents to learn the new system. For example, we are giving a special class at our WIC Centers. We have extra WIC Card information on our website, www.wicforyou.org. People can also learn more by visiting www.myfamily.wic.ca.gov and playing the “Your California WIC Card” video in the top left corner.

“Are you eligible for WIC?,” Gaspard asked. “You can read about eligibility at https://wicforyou.org/eligible-for-wic/ or phone (310) 661-3080.

“If you’re a WIC parent, you can request an appointment by phoning (310) 661-3080.

“WIC provides so many benefits,” Gaspard said. “Our parents take part in one-on-one counseling sessions about health and nutrition with well-trained nutrition assistants.

“Pregnant women are taught about breastfeeding and can take part in a breastfeeding support group. We have a breastfeeding helpline, and provide excellent breast pumps to eligible women.

“Our dietitians meet with pregnant women and families who have special health challenges.

“We guide parents to make sure their children receive the shots they need. We hold classes on many topics. And we give parents referrals to assistance in the community,” Gaspard said.

The Paramount WIC Center is located at 16260 Paramount Blvd., CA 90723, in the Paramount Town Center East Shopping Center.

For more information, phone 310-661-3080 or visit https://wicforyou.org.