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Federal Nutrition Program 'WIC' Will Expand Benefits Starting In June

Vegetable farmer market counter.
Ruslan Olinchuk
Adobe Stock
About 2,700 families in Leon County rely on vegetable and fruit benefits through a federal nutrition program known as WIC. Now, those benefits are being temporarily expanded.

A federal nutrition program for low-income women who've recently given birth will temporarily expand its vegetable and fruit cash benefits to $35 a month per participant. Previously, the benefit was capped at $11 a month per mother and $9 a month per child under age 4.

Dykibra Gaskin is the public health nutrition program director for Leon, Franklin, Wakulla, Madison, Jefferson, and Taylor counties. She says more than 4,000 families in the area will benefit from the change.

"This is something that is so important. Specifically, when you're thinking about food deserts, access to fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy foods has been a consistent problem. So, it's really good to see this expansion so people can get more fruits and vegetables," Gaskin says.

The program, known as WIC, is getting extra dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act. WIC allows families to buy other food groups, but the amount is capped. Whereas with fruits and veggies, the benefit is limited to a dollar amount. The WIC benefits expansion starts June 1 and will end September 30.

Robbie Gaffney graduated from Florida State University with degrees in Digital Media Production and Creative Writing. Before working at WFSU, they recorded FSU’s basketball and baseball games for Seminole Productions as well as interned for the PBS Station in Largo, Florida. Robbie loves playing video games such as Shadow of the Colossus, Animal Crossing, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Their other hobbies include sleeping and watching anime.