A friend asked me this the other day if the process of getting WIC was worth it, and I'll be honest and say I was wondering the same thing myself. For the unitiated, WIC is a nutrition assistance program that provides vouchers for things like milk, eggs, whole grains, cereal, juice, etc for Women, Infants, and Children. Foster children, as dependents of the state, are automatically eligible for WIC, so we don't have to go through a rigorous qualifying process. Still, I once went with my sister to a WIC appt, and it took about 2.5 hours, so I was unsure if it was going to be worth it. But once I started thinking about it, I realized that, for us right now, it's worth it to get WIC for Pooh. Here's why:
We received credits to purchase the following items:
- 3 gallons plus 1 quart of whole milk
- 1 pound of cheese
- 1 dozen eggs
- 2 containers of juice (64 oz)
- 36 oz of cereal
- 1 pound of dry beans
- 2 pounds of bread, tortillas, rice, or oatmeal
- $6 in fruits or vegetables
Now, this works out to about $30 in groceries, all staples that we'd be buying anyway. My appointment with Pooh took right at an hour, so we could figure that to be $30 an hour. Not bad, but it gets better. Benefits are assigned for 3-month periods, which means that it's $30 X 3 months, so for my one single hour in the office, we get $90 in groceries for Pooh. Wow! In addition, this month we were given vouchers for $10 in farmer's market produce. So, $100 in food, for one measly hour in the WIC office - an exceptional deal, in my opinion, and one that allows us to use that $100 in grocery money for high quality nutritious food, and the occasional treat, like Blue Bell ice cream, which both Pooh and P-daddy really love! For me, this is the epitome of frugality: we use what resources we have wisely, so that we can spend more on things that we need to.
Now, lest you think that all we are getting from WIC is groceries, let me tell you a little more. We also get the added benefit of their health and nutrition publications, a visit with a nutritionist, the peace of mind that Pooh is at an acceptable height/weight, and the knowledge that his iron levels are great (which they are apparently really concerned about at this age). Plus, in 3 months, rather than bringing Pooh with me, I get to attend a nutrition class, during which they'll update Pooh's benefits, and I'll learn more about how to get toddlers to eat healthy. Again, I'll be there an hour or so, and receive benefits for 3 months.
Sure, it means one more card in my wallet, and trying to get P-daddy to be less helpful by dropping by the store and getting milk without the WIC card, but all in all, I'd say it's definitely worth it!