Women, Infants and Children, WIC, is a fantastic, free program for pregnant women, breastfeeding women and children under five-years-old whose family’s income is below 185 percent of the federal poverty level.
“We have a flow chart that we follow to determine the qualifications,” explained Blair Tomsheck, Toole County Health Nurse. “If you are already enrolled in Medicaid, SNAP, TANF or free and reduced lunches program you automatically qualify.”
The WIC program offers invaluable information and tools in regard to nutrition and health education, breastfeeding and assistance in accessing other important services. The program also provides a wide variety of healthy food items that can be purchased with an EBT card at local grocery stores. The food items include milk, cheese, yogurt, whole grains, peanut butter, beans, fruits, vegetables, formula cans, baby cereal and baby fruit and vegetables.
“Free health and nutrition education is offered to help clients understand their specific nutrition needs and learn about health prevention and improvement strategies,” said Tomsheck. “Wellness as a whole is important to healthy families. We offer assistance in accessing other important services and supplies for portion control, water bottles for increasing water intake, books and charts on choosing healthy foods, as well as a bag to keep it all together!”
Online apps are also available for your phone to help keep track of what and how much food is left on your food package. Appointments are offered remotely or in-person at the health department. Once an appointment is complete the client is generally set for three months.
“We strive to see our clients four times a year, sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less,” said Tomsheck. “We are able to offer the WICSmart online learning module as well. It offers extended education on nutrition, childhood milestones, pregnancy education and choosing nutritious foods.”
WIC is available in Toole, Glacier and Pondera counties. While Browning is not part of the regional WIC collaboration, they do have a WIC office program that can offer services to their residents and the Glacier County Health Department offers services to the county as a whole.
To make a WIC appointment in Toole County call (406) 424-5169, in Glacier County call (406) 873-2969 and in Pondera County (406) 271-3247.