SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The Coastal Health District has been selected by the Georgia Department of Public Health to pilot eWIC, a new electronic system for issuing food benefits through the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) program.

Previously, WIC participants used paper vouchers to purchase approved foods. The new system allows participants to use an eWIC card, which functions like a debit card, to purchase WIC-approved foods.

“Using cards rather than paper vouchers will make shopping much more convenient for our WIC participants,” said Coastal Health District Nutrition Services Director, Pat Mobley, RDN, LD. “We’re thrilled to be able to pilot this program in Georgia.”

A phased approach will be used to distribute the new cards. Participants can continue to use paper vouchers until they receive an eWIC card.

“We’re excited about this technology upgrade but it’s going to take some time to shift from vouchers to cards,” said Mobley. “We appreciate everyone’s patience and want to reassure our WIC participants that we are working diligently to make sure the transition goes as smoothly as possible.”

Georgia WIC is a special supplemental nutrition program that provides nutrition education, breastfeeding education and support, referrals, and nutritional supplements to thousands of income eligible families throughout Georgia.

WIC allows those eligible to purchase specific foods each month that are designed to supplement their diets with specific nutrients that benefit WIC’s target population. WIC foods include infant cereal, iron-fortified adult cereal, vitamin C-rich fruit or vegetable juice, eggs, milk, cheese, peanut butter, dried and canned beans/peas, and canned fish. Soy-based beverages, tofu, fruits and vegetables, baby foods, whole-wheat bread, and other whole-grain options were recently added to better meet the nutritional needs of WIC participants.

Income-eligible families include pregnant women, breastfeeding woman, postpartum women, infants, and children up to age five. Custodial/single fathers, legal guardians, and foster parents of an infant or child can also receive WIC Benefits for the eligible infant or child.

For more information about WIC, including eligibility requirements, click here.