KENNEWICK, Wash.- The Benton Franklin Health District says many pregnant women and new mothers don't realize they may be eligible for the Washington State WIC program.
The health district and Columbia Center Mall hope to spread the word about WIC by starting at the mall's children's play area, now wrapped in several advertisements and banners promoting the program.
WIC is a nutrition program for low income, pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants, and children up to age five.
Annie Goodwin, WIC coordinator at the health district, says the program also offers prenatal and breastfeeding education, as well as help with food and pumps for new mothers returning to work.
"For every dollar spent on the WIC program, we save four dollars in Medicaid costs," Goodwin says. "We reduce the incidences of premature birth. There's some really positive effects of being on the WIC program."
Last year, the WIC program helped more than half the infants born in Benton and Franklin Counties. In 2011, Goodwin says 8,382 women and their children took advantage of the services.