Rutgers NJMS WIC: Serving Families in Need During COVID-19
The pandemic has caused unemployment rates to rise at an alarming rate and as a result, an estimated 54 million Americans may experience food insecurity this year. Now more than ever, there is a critical need to provide services for the most vulnerable members of society.
The Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) program is a supplemental nutrition program that serves low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and nutritionally at-risk children up to age five. Additionally, WIC benefits can be utilized by families experiencing unemployment, military deployment, and other interim family financial hardships.
In light of the necessity and urgency to provide WIC services during the pandemic, Rutgers NJMS WIC will continue working with clients through remote services. In order to protect the safety of our staff and clients, physical presence has been waived through September 30, 2020.
Current participants will continue to receive nutrition and breastfeeding education and counseling via phone interviews and will receive WIC benefits through direct mailing.
Additionally, there are tools and platforms that have been put into place to allow for increased opportunities for WIC applications/processing accessibility and other related information. These tools include:
Rutgers NJMS WIC website: The official NJMS WIC website which provides hours, updates, and links to eligibility and emerging COVID-19 information.
NJ WIC Portal: The portal allows applicants to review and change upcoming appointment times, update family information, and upload WIC related eligibility documents and forms.
Rutgers NJMS WIC Facebook page: This social media platform provides up-to-date information and educational materials.
WIC Shopper: The WIC smartphone application that enables a more seamless shopping experience, providing nutritious recipes and information on WIC approved brands and products. It is available on Google Play or the Apple App Store.
"We urge all Rutgers health care staff to continue to refer applicable patients to WIC, so that our target population within Essex County can benefit from the Rutgers NJMS WIC program services," said Susan Stephenson-Martin, director of the Rutgers NJMS WIC program.
Stephenson-Martin also noted that the WIC Farmers Market program will also be operating through November. WIC participants can use Farmers' Market Checks ($25 per eligible participant) to purchase local fruits and vegetables, thus increasing WIC benefits for food insecure participants/families.
New participants and applicants should first call the Rutgers NJMS WIC Local Agency at (973) 972-3416 or submit applications through the NJ WIC Portal.
The Rutgers NJMS WIC Office is located in the Stanley Bergen Building, 65 Bergen St., Suite GA-06. For more information, click here.