COVID-19 Information for WIC Families
The safety and health of your family is WIC’s first priority during the spread of COVID-19. To protect all families and staff, your WIC local agencies have made temporary changes in WIC program operations.
Please call your WIC local agency ahead of your appointment to see how it is operating. Find your WIC local agency contact number at WIC Clinics and Retailers.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the WIC-approved substitutions?
- Purchase Jif, Peter Pan, and Skippy in 16-18 oz containers of creamy, crunchy, regular, or smooth peanut butter if stores do not have store brand peanut butter available.
- Purchase a dozen medium, extra-large, jumbo, or brown eggs if stores do not have large eggs available. Organic, free range, and specialty eggs are not allowed.
- Purchase quarts, half-gallons, and gallons of milk to total the number of gallon(s) on the check. If milk in the type issued is not available, alternate fat content milk closest to the type issued may be purchased in a combination of sizes and types up to the total amount allowed on the check. Substitution is not permitted for lactose free, organic, flavored, or other milk alternatives.
- Purchase WIC-approved alternate brands of 16 ounce whole wheat breads if the retailer does not have an approved brand available.
- Purchase Beech-Nut, Gerber, or Tippy Toes organic varieties of 4 oz jars to equal up to the total amount on the check if 4 oz jars of approved infant fruits and vegetables are not available.
- For participants with WIC checks printed for 16 twin packs (4 oz tub) infant fruits and vegetables, purchase Gerber 2nd Foods Variety Pack of 16 twin packs of infant fruits and vegetables if the full quantity of approved Gerber or Tippy Toes twin-packs are unavailable.
- For participants with an eWIC card that has a minimum balance of 128 ounces the variety pack is also allowed when sufficient quantities of jars and twin-packs are unavailable.
- Infant Fruit and Vegetable Guide
What if my WIC local agency is closed?
Your local agencies may be offering services by phone, drive-up, mail, or online until further notice. Please call your WIC local agency to see how they are currently operating.
What if I can’t contact my WIC local agency?
Please contact the Missouri WIC and Nutrition Services program:
Call the WIC Participant Support Line: 800-392-8209
What if WIC-approved foods are out of stock at my grocery store?
If your WIC authorized retailer does not have WIC food items in stock, please refer to the location map to find other WIC authorized retailers: WIC Clinics and Retailers
WIC participants may now choose from expanded options in a variety of food categories to help address WIC product shortages. See the above question for a list of approved substitutions.
The maximum quantity printed on checks is now decreased to allow WIC participants to purchase smaller quantities of food items from multiple retailers for up to the full amount of their food prescription. Formula is included on the list to print smaller quantities on checks. These changes are effective throughout May 31, 2020, unless extended.
Per WIC requirements, retailers must allow WIC participants to purchase the full amount of items on their check, if available in the store, and should not be held to quantity limitations.
How can I get WIC if I lost my job from COVID-19?
If you or someone you know has been financially affected by recent events and are pregnant, just had a baby, or have children under the age of five, WIC is accepting applications for new families and is here to help provide healthy foods and other resources. Eligible families, dads, grandparents, and foster parents caring for eligible children should contact their WIC local agency for more information.
You can locate your WIC local agency on the WIC Clinics and Retailers map.
What if I need help with breastfeeding?
Many WIC local agencies can offer breastfeeding support by phone or by video conferencing on Zoom, even if the local agency is closed to the public. Breastfeeding peer counselors are often available by phone outside of regular working hours, so please don’t hesitate to call for help. Local agencies are also still loaning out breast pumps to mothers who need to access them.
Many basic breastfeeding questions can also be answered by using the resources available at the WIC Breastfeeding Support page: https://wicbreastfeeding.fns.usda.gov/. The La Leche League is also offering virtual support groups during the COVID-19 response, and you can contact your local group for details on when the meetings will be held. Find your local group here: https://www.llli.org/. La Leche League is not affiliated with WIC, but does offer excellent mother to mother support. The hospital where your baby was born may also be able to offer support, in-person or by phone.
What if I just don’t know where to begin, but I want to find out about WIC?
If you are having difficulties finding a local agency or enrolling in WIC and you need someone to help you navigate this process, call the Missouri WIC Participant Support Line: 800-392-8209 or send an email to WICInfo@health.mo.gov.
- Missouri WIC Program
- Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS)
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention
- World Health Organization
- If you have been laid off or had your hours reduced due to COVID-19, if you are ill or quarantined, or you are caring for someone who is ill or quarantined, you may be eligible for assistance through the Missouri Department of Labor.
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