A healthier WIC spells happy clients in East Texas

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Formula, cheese, cereal, eggs and juice, that used to be what the government-operated program, WIC (Women, Infants and Children), offered its clients. The program has significantly stepped-up the nutritional value in their food packages.

Expecting mother Amber Cunningham applied for WIC  Tuesday. The acceptance into the program comes as a blessing. "Being on WIC is going to help out really well with getting the milk and the eggs and vegetables and cheese and cereal and all that good stuff," she said.

Especially since her husband recently lost his job. "I'm six weeks and five days [pregnant] and he got laid off a week before I found out I was pregnant," Cunningham said.

Before WIC, healthier foods were hard to come by for the Cunninghams. "They're really expensive, especially fruits and vegetables," she said.

"We're going to be offering money for fruits and vegetables which is a great thing," said Beth Malloy, registered dietician with WIC. "I'm really excited about that."

Other changes include the addition of whole grain items, which usually cost more. "Instead of buying white bread they'll be able to get wheat bread with WIC benefits," said Malloy. "Instead of spending extra money that they would have before, they're going to get it for free."

The Cunninghams said WIC has replenished their hope. "It helps us to see what's in front of us," said Anthony Cunningham, husband. "It also makes us want to work harder for it."

With the help of WIC, the Cunninghams will make it together.

If you're interested in applying for the program, you can go to your nearest WIC office to see if you qualify.

©2009 KTRE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.