The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides nutritious foods, nutrition education, and access to health care to low-income pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children under five. WIC is incredibly important for reducing hunger in this vulnerable population. Unfortunately, participation is low and has been steadily decreasing. Currently, less than half of eligible mothers, infants, and children in the District participate in WIC.
One major barrier to participating in the program is access to grocery stores that accept WIC benefits. Overly burdensome regulations beyond what federal law requires have prevented many small stores throughout the District from being a WIC-approved vendor.
The WIC Expansion Act removes onerous restrictions on square footage, number of cashiers, and organic products for WIC vendors beyond what is required by federal law. The Act also requires the D.C. Department of Health to convene a WIC Outreach Advisory Board to provide guidance and develop strategies for increasing WIC participation.