The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) highlighted positive effects from the temporary benefit increase for purchasing additional fruits and vegetables.
The WIC vegetable and fruit benefit, known as Cash Value Benefit (CVB), was increased from $9-11 per month to $35 per month in summer 2021, before being adjusted in October 2021 to $24 per month for children, $43 for pregnant and postpartum women, and $47 for breastfeeding women in the continuing resolution.
“West Virginia WIC participants were positively impacted by the CVB increase,” said West Virginia WIC Director Heidi Staats. "Over the summer, surveyed WIC families shared that increased benefits brought healthier foods to their table, and helped parents shop for a variety of vegetables and fruit to feed their young children.”
Enhanced CVB provides a constant, yet flexible, stream of transactions that can adapt as grocers receive new supply. With farmers markets adapting to authorize CVB transactions, and grocers in low-income neighborhoods reporting increasing stocking of fresh produce, WIC's CVB increases access to nutritious foods.
“In West Virginia, more than a third of WIC-participating families spent more than 90% of the increased CVB, demonstrating this benefit is useful at increasing consumption of vegetables and fruits,” Staats said. “The higher benefit levels also resulted in increased purchases, benefitting all elements of the food supply chain, including the retail grocers and farmers who partner with WIC to support thousands of families across the state.”
Since 2009, WIC has provided a monthly vegetable and fruit benefit to approximately 56,000 participants statewide. WIC provides a range of healthy foods to ensure consistent access to key nutrients associated with proper growth and development and align participants' diets with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. WIC's science-based standards result in a strong record of improved pregnancy, birth, and early childhood outcomes.
For more information about the WIC Program or to apply, visit dhhr.wv.gov/WIC.