AUSTIN, Texas — While grocery shopping is a struggle for everyone right now, there’s a bit of good news for participants in the Texas WIC program: It’s now a little easier to stock up on eligible items.
- Additional items are eligible for WIC
- MyTexasWIC app being updated
Effective immediately, Texas WIC is now providing additional options for certain food items including milk, bread, rice, pasta and eggs. The program has also permanently added canned fruits and veggies to the list. It is also updating the MyTexasWIC app to ensure Texans who need access to nutritious food will be able to find it in their local grocery stores. Items at the grocery store with a pink sticker that says “WIC Approved” are products eligible for shoppers to purchase using WIC.
“Grocers assure us they can meet this increased demand and have supply chains ready to respond,” said Dee Budgewater, HHS deputy executive commissioner for Health Developmental and Independence Services. “The Texas WIC team is working around the clock to ensure families have access to healthy food, which is one of the best ways to support mothers and growing children and help them achieve a greater sense of health and well-being.”
WIC participants can find detailed information on the Texas WIC website. WIC participants can also download the latest version of the MyTexasWIC shopping app on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, which informs families what the allowable food items are on their benefit package.
Texas WIC is operating under modified services throughout the state to help keep clients and staff safe. Families may call their local WIC clinics to learn more about how they can receive services. Visit the Texas WIC website or call 800-942-3678 to find how your local clinic is handling local services.
Many have modified their services and applicants are encouraged to start their applications online to protect office workers and practice social distancing precautions. If you're having issues with a grocery store not complying with WIC, email Texas Health and Human Services at WICSupport@hhsc.state.tx.us
Derryann Krupinsky is the WIC director for the City of San Marcos, serving four counties in the area. Due to COVID-19, the San Marcos WIC clinic has updated the program to better help participants.
"Existing clients have to bring the card to us," Krupinsky said. "But we have a method where they will just drop the card in the box, we’ll go pick it up once they're back in their car, we'll pick it up, sanitize the card. We'll do our thing inside with the card, load it, and then put it back out for them to pick it up. There has been some misinformation that we've been combating, just trying to ensure everybody that we're there for them. We're going to be able to provide the cards."
Unfortunately, the San Marcos clinic is unable to offer clients curbside groceries.
"I know that one of our vendors was working towards that well before COVID started,” Krupinsky said. “They're just not there yet. There are some issues with the actual transaction that has to take place with the card and the pin number. So that makes it challenging right now."
Krupinsky is understanding when it comes to the struggles clients may face when using their benefits during this time.
“Oftentimes people with infants and young children, life is just a struggle and everybody's going through a tough time right now. And so, we really don't want people with infants out there having to shop multiple times a week or going out trying to find their benefits," Krupinsky said. "But now that the standards have been relaxed and clients don't have to just get the items with the pink sticker, that there are some other options and alternatives they can find. It has been a little bit easier, I think, for everybody. At the state level and even the national level, they moved very quickly to make processes easier for us, waive part of the process, and really give us some tools that can expedite how we serve clients.”
Krupinsky says on average, San Marcos WIC serves about 7,000 clients monthly, and she’s encouraging those in need to apply right now.
“Some people may have thought that they didn't qualify or maybe they've actually been denied WIC services before. We encourage them to apply now especially if their job situation has changed. Maybe their hours have been cut or unfortunately they're finding themselves unemployed, chances are that they will qualify now,” Krupinsky said. "Pregnant moms, infants, moms with babies under a year old if they're breastfeeding, six months if not. We also have fathers and grandparents anybody that has custody of kids that are under the age of five. We encourage them to be on WIC."