Gaston County WIC program now providing remote appointments to increase access for participants

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — Families with a lower income in Gaston County now have increased access to proper nutrition thanks to the Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services.

On Aug. 1, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) began offering both in-person and remote appointments for applicants and participants.

WIC is a program that helps pregnant moms, babies, and young children reduce obesity by increasing their access to healthier food options. They provide nutritious food, education about nutrition, breastfeeding support, referrals to health care, and community resources.

With the option of remote appointments for specific services, WIC staff now have the opportunity to be more flexible and accommodating to members’ needs when it comes to scheduling appointments for families.

Tiffany Thomas, Gaston County WIC Director, said the new remote appointment option will help break down walls and increase access to healthy resources for local families.

“We want to eliminate certain barriers, such as transportation and work schedules, by providing more flexibility to meet the needs of our valued participants and future participants. We are excited about the direction WIC is headed,” Thomas said.

To further reduce issues with using the WIC program, over the past years, WIC has begun handing out eWIC cards to replace traditional paper vouchers.

Two years ago, the program began giving its on-site breastfeeding and nutrition classes online, including phone counseling as needed. This allows participants to access their required nutrition education online while receiving monthly benefits to buy food for their families.

“Our goal in Gaston County is to reach as many people as possible who qualify for the WIC program,” Thomas said. “We are prepared now, more than ever, to make receiving nutrition education, breastfeeding support services, and healthy foods more accessible to all of the county.”

For more information about the WIC program in Gaston County, click here.

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