September 1, 2005
Qualifying residents of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama forced to relocate to Texas by Hurricane Katrina will be eligible to receive WIC benefits here, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), which administers the federal supplemental nutrition program in Texas.
Refugees who had WIC benefits in those states, and other qualifying Katrina refugees who want to begin receiving WIC benefits, can contact the nearest local WIC clinic or call the Texas WIC Program at 1-800-942-3678 for local WIC clinic locations. There are some 700 local WIC clinics in Texas.
Officials are working on ways to serve WIC-eligible refugees housed in large shelters and unable to get to a local WIC clinic to register.
WIC provides nutrition education, food, formula and other services for low-income pregnant women, new mothers, infants and children under 5. DSHS officials said most if not all the refugees in these categories would meet the program’s financial eligibility requirements.
WIC clients are issued an identity card and vouchers by local WIC clinics. The vouchers are redeemable for certain food items at some 2,500 stores, or vendors, throughout the state. Food packages vary depending on client category, but include infant formula, milk, cheese, cereal, juice, eggs, peanut butter and beans.
DSHS also announced that the 2,500 WIC-vendor stores in Texas may accept vouchers previously issued in Louisiana or Alabama to WIC clients who have evacuated to Texas.
WIC is the popular name for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.
(News media: for more information contact Doug McBride, DSHS Press Officer, Austin, 512-458-7524.)