WIC During COVID-19: Participation and Benefit Redemption Since the Onset of the Pandemic
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a federal nutrition program that offers nourishing foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and referrals to health care for nutritionally at-risk infants, children up to 5 years old, and pregnant and postpartum women from households with low income. WIC enhances individuals' nutritional consumption, birth and health outcomes, and general health. The program also promotes learning and growth, lessens food insecurity, and aids in the fight against poverty. This brief details the change in WIC participation and benefit redemption food costs during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic (March 2020 through February 2022) and provides recommendations to strengthen WIC now and beyond the pandemic.