The National WIC Association (NWA) received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to support a three-year project called Catalyzing Recruitment Efforts in WIC: Disseminating Evidence-Based Resources to Enhance the WIC Participant Experience (CREW). Through this project, we seek to increase participation in WIC by recruiting eligible families and retaining current participants. This includes sharing knowledge, resources, and materials; investing in local agencies; including health equity framework; and rigorously evaluating tools and strategies. As caseloads in WIC continue to decline, we need to understand the causes and provide guidance to solve the issues so all families can fully engage with the program.
Hello! My name is Noemi Matias. I am a WIC Certifier in Yakima, Washington, and have worked for the WIC program for 14 years. In February, I took a different path to approach more WIC families and volunteered to join my WIC program in helping to implement the Catalyzing Retention Efforts in WIC (CREW) pilot project, a grant funded by the NWA.
We plan to offer monthly WIC services in partner agency spaces -- like Head Start centers, libraries, and warehouses -- and be available during one-time events, like health fairs. The idea is to take WIC out into the community rather than always having participants come to us. Hopefully by doing so, families will be more likely to access these important services.
During COVID-19, one way we have brought WIC into the community is by partnering with Catholic Charities during their virtual Kaleidoscope Play & Learn groups. I get to engage with the children by reading them a story, most recently was the book Sylvia’s Spinach. After reading the book, caregivers get information on how to access WIC during COVID-19. It’s valuable to be able to join in this project to be able to get out in the community in new and unique ways, so we can let families know we are still here for them. We are excited for the day when we can be on site at this and other agencies, and become even more present to families in need.
We hope that with this program we can reach out to families not yet accessing WIC and make it easier for them to connect with our services.
This work was funded and made possible by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in partnership with the National WIC Association. Views here do not necessarily reflect those of the Foundation.