The Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children opened a new clinic in Alachua County on Monday.
The new office at 210 NW 75th Drive in the Tower Hill office park replaces WIC’s Park Avenue location. The move is an effort to meet demand in the area around the new location, according to Diana Duque, community program manager at the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County.
Of participants who “were going to Park Avenue, a lot of them reside in the 32607, 32609, 32608 ZIP code[s],” she said. “So we thought Tower Hill would be a perfect location for all those participants to easily access the clinic.”
WIC is a federally funded program within the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service. The program assists women who are pregnant or postpartum and fall below 185 percent of the national poverty line, as well as children from birth to the age of 5.
“We provide a variety of services, mostly in nutrition education,” said Jason Meehan, public health nutrition program director for WIC in Hernando County.
WIC participants also receive breastfeeding support and education, and they’re able to consult with nutritionists and dietitians for health and eating advice, Meehan said.
“The main thing we provide is healthy foods,” he said, adding the program distributes fresh fruit and vegetables. “We provide a health-care element that the Food Stamp Program doesn’t.”
WIC offers all its services free of charge.
“There’s been a lot of research to show the WIC program does make a difference,” said Ashley Sobolewski, WIC director for the Florida Department of Health in Nassau County. “There’s a value to WIC. It makes our community better.”