Hunger Solutions New York is pleased to announce it has been awarded a five-year contract from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) to perform statewide targeted outreach and education for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). The project aims to increase awareness of the WIC program in New York State, increase referrals from community partners, and increase enrollment and participation.
To accomplish these objectives, in the first year Hunger Solutions New York will develop and launch a statewide, multi-media awareness and education campaign; produce and distribute social media outreach for use by local agencies; engage and coordinate with statewide, regional, and local partners to increase awareness of, support for, and participation in WIC; and conduct a needs assessment to identify under-served populations and key messages to reach them. Future years will turn these learnings into more targeted local interventions to help more families receive benefits.
The contract builds on learning from 2018-2020 pilot project, WIC Help New York. The goal is to reach every county in the state over the course of the contract through a combination of public education, outreach, technical assistance and local intervention strategies.
A federally funded public health and nutrition program, WIC provides healthy food, nutrition and health education, breastfeeding support, and service referrals to women, infants, and children each month through local providers—hospitals, local health departments, and community-based organizations—around New York State. During the entire COVID-19 crisis, local WIC agencies have enrolled participants and provided benefits and nutrition education using a variety of methods including remote, hybrid, and in-person appointments. WIC currently serves about 370,000 participants each month in New York State, however that is only about 50 percent of all eligible New Yorkers.
Food insecurity in infancy and early childhood can have long-term health impacts. WIC participation is associated with healthier births, improved birth weights, reduced risk of infant mortality, better infant-feeding practices, more nutritious diets, better access to primary and preventive health care, healthier neighborhood food environments, and improved cognitive development and academic achievement in childhood.