Food, nutrition counseling, breastfeeding counseling and access to health services are provided to eligible women, infants and children under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program, popularly known as WIC. Studies completed since its inception show that WIC has been instrumental in the improvement of growth patterns of children, decreasing incidences of anemia and lowering infant mortality. With childhood and adult obesity on the rise, WIC strives to educate parents and caregivers about the importance of diet and exercise. It is now realized that a diet with healthy foods and healthy eating habits can have benefits that last throughout life.
This Lawrence County service, which was one of the first WIC programs in Ohio, was started in June 1974, by former CAO Executive Director Keith Molihan. Sponsored by the Ironton-Lawrence County CAO, the Ohio Department of Health, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, WIC operates clinics in the Ironton and Chesapeake areas to make services convenient to all residents needing assistance. County residents are served by a full-time Licensed Dietitian, two full-time nutritionists, and four full-time nutrition assistants. Lawrence County WIC is currently serving 2,000 county residents.
Eligibility for this service includes meeting income guidelines, a State residency requirement, and being individually determined to be at nutrition risk by a health professional. Income eligibility is based on gross income in the household. Currently, a family of four can earn $44,000 per year. A person who participates or has family members, who participate in certain other benefit services, such as the Food Stamp Program, Medicaid, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, automatically meets the eligibility requirements.