WIC monthly fruit and vegetable benefit triples next week

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A little-known provision included in the American Rescue Plan Act signed in March starts next week and runs through September and could help thousands of familes in Kentucky.
Kentucky’s WIC program has temporarily increased the fruit and vegetable benefit to $35 per month starting June 1 for women and children.
The increase will be available from June to September 2021.

With $490 million provided by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, USDA has offered states, tribal nations and territories the option of boosting the cash-value voucher benefit by more than three times the current amount for up to four months to provide additional relief during this difficult time.

“To more effectively promote heathier eating patterns, we need to promote nutrition security alongside food security to ensure all people at all times have access to nutritious foods and beverages that meet their nutritional needs for an active and healthy life,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Nowhere is nutrition security more important than in our WIC program to support mothers and young children.”

The cash-value voucher allows participants to purchase fruits and vegetables as part of their WIC food package.

Under normal circumstances, the monthly cash-value voucher is $9 per child and $11 for pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women.

The American Rescue Plan allows state agencies to temporarily provide up to $35 per child and adult, per month.

These additional funds will increase the purchasing power of WIC participants so they can buy and consume more healthy fruits and vegetables.

“This temporary increase in benefits will further ensure that individuals at nutritional risk and those who are disproportionately affected by hunger have greater purchasing power for the healthy and nutritious foods they need,” said Stacy Dean, deputy undersecretary of food, nutrition, and consumer services.

WIC has a long-standing history of improving the overall health and nutrition of its participants. The program provides women, infants, and children up to age of 5, who are at nutritional risk, with healthy foods to supplement their diets as well as health care referrals and nutrition education. For more information on WIC, visit: www.fns.usda.gov/wic.

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