For many families in southern Illinois, being able to provide nutritious meals is a challenge. Here is where WIC, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) through Southern Seven Health Department can help.

"Families enrolled in the WIC program not only get nutritious food but are given the tools they need to feed their children well during critical periods of growth and development," stated Shawnna Rhine, spokesperson for Southern Seven. "WIC provides nutrition assessment, counseling and education, breastfeeding support and referrals to other services.

From Sept. 3-19, Southern Seven Health Department will hold "Grow with WIC" events at grocery stores throughout their service area. Those who attend will receive information on WIC, sample menus and recipes and how to enroll in the program.

Within the Scene area, staff will be stationed at:

• Johnson County: Sept. 12 -- Goreville Suits Food Market, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. and Vienna Miles Bros. Foods from 3-5 p.m.

• Pulaski County: Sept. 16 --Pulaski Old General Store from 2:30-4:30 p.m.

• Pope County: Sept. 18 --Golconda Food Mart from 2:30-4:30 p.m.

• Massac County: Sept. 19 --Big John from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and Save-a-Lot from 2:30-4:30 p.m.

To be eligible for WIC, a woman must be pregnant or breastfeeding or have an infant or child up to age 5, meet income eligibility guidelines, show a medical or nutritional need, and live in Alexander, Hardin, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Pulaski or Union counties in Illinois.

In Illinois, WIC is administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

To learn more about WIC, call 618-634-2297, ext. 157 or visit southern7.org.

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