Catawba County News

WIC Celebrates 50 Years

WIC Celebrates 50 Years

Published: March 15, 2024


HICKORY – This year, the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) supplemental nutrition program is celebrating five decades of helping families get the nutrition they need to be healthy. Catawba County Public Health’s WIC program is proud to serve alongside other programs across the United States to make a difference locally. Nationwide, the WIC program provides families with opportunities to purchase healthy foods, such as vegetables, fruits, eggs, whole grains, dairy and more, in conjunction with providing nutrition education, breastfeeding support and referrals to health and other services.

The first WIC clinic opened in 1974 in Pineville, Ky., making 2024 the 50-year celebration of WIC. Three years later, as the national program took off, Catawba County Public Health’s WIC opened on February 1, 1977.

WIC is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for women who are pregnant, have recently delivered or are breastfeeding, and children up to age five.

The program helps prevent nutrition-related problems in pregnancy, infancy and early childhood. WIC food packages are loaded on a card similar to a debit card and are redeemable at participating food stores. Eligible participants receive food packages that can includes milk, cheese, eggs, whole grain cereals and bread, peanut butter, fresh, frozen or canned fruit or vegetables, and other nutritious items. Locally, WIC purchases bring more than $3.3 million into our economy each year.

“WIC matters because it allows participants to buy nutritious food and provides nutrition education and additional services and resources that can significantly improve a child’s diet,” said Jeremy Stockton, Catawba County’s WIC Director. “We encourage families with children under age 5 and women who are pregnant to consider applying for the program. It can make a big difference in the weekly grocery bill and help families purchase foods that impact health, both now and in the future.”

Because nutrition is a building block for healthy families, access to healthy foods is an ongoing health priority in Catawba County, and access to healthy foods was selected once again in the most recent Community Health Assessment as a priority. WIC’s services are an important way we can make sure families can get the healthy foods they need.

Depending on family size and who is in the family, WIC benefits can be worth up to hundreds of dollars each month. Income requirements are based off Federal poverty guidelines and because nutrition is so important, families can make nearly double that amount and still qualify for WIC. Depending on the family, mothers, fathers, grandparents, or foster and adoptive parents, may be eligible to receive WIC for children in their care.

Some individuals are also automatically income-eligible:

  • Children under age 5 who are enrolled in the Head Start, Early Head Start, NC Pre-K or Parents as Teachers programs,
  • If you participate in another assistance program (Medicaid, Work First/TANF or Food and Nutrition Services/SNAP),
  • Children who are in foster care and are covered by Medicaid.

For more information on WIC or to find out if you or your family is eligible, please call (828) 695-5884 or make an appointment online at

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity. More information:

Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

Catawba County Public Health promotes and protects the health of all Catawba County residents through preventive services, innovative partnerships, and community health improvement initiatives. For more information, please call (828) 695-5800 or visit