BRISTOL, Conn.— State residents who meet certain income and other requirements can obtain nutritious food and nutrition education through the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program of Bristol Hospital.
More than 5,000 people in 20 area towns currently participate in this Bristol Hospital program. Women who are pregnant, postpartum, or breastfeeding, infants under one year of age, and children between the ages of one and five are eligible to receive the food. In addition, participants must have demonstrated medical or nutritional need for the food and must meet certain income guidelines. For example, a family of four with an income of $876 a week ($45,552 a year) or less would qualify.
Individuals do not have to be receiving state or town assistance to qualify for the program. Many participants use the program on a short-term basis, while they are out of work or in a lower-paying job. Participants are given an EBT card (electronic benefits) which can be redeemed at most area food stores for nutritious foods, including eggs, milk, fruits and vegetables, bread, brown rice, juice, cereal, peanut butter, dried beans and infant formula.
The WIC Program, a national program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that began 45 years ago, has 12 agencies in Connecticut. The Bristol Hospital WIC Program serves residents of Avon, Berlin, Bristol, Burlington, Canton, Collinsville, Farmington, Kensington, New Britain, North Granby, Marion, Milldale, Pequabuck, Plainville, Plantsville, Plymouth, Simsbury, Southington, Terryville, and Unionville.
The main office in Bristol is located at 9 Prospect Street. A second permanent office is located in New Britain at 450 Main Street. Satellite offices are operated one day each month at the following locations: Southington Community Services – 91 Norton Street in Plantsville, Staples House – 2 Montieth Drive in Farmington, Plainville Community Food Pantry – 54 South Canal Street in Plainville, and Terryville Town Hall – 80 Main Street in Terryville. WIC staff members travel each month to these towns where transportation may be limited, to serve those who cannot travel to Bristol or New Britain.
WIC nutritionists offer education on healthy eating, ensure that all children participating in the program are seen regularly by a doctor and can distribute information about other community-service groups in the area that may be able to help the family. All Bristol Hospital WIC Program nutritionists are Certified Lactation Counselors (CLC) and can provide information and support to pregnant and breastfeeding women.
All inquiries and assistance through WIC are confidential. Those interested in obtaining more information (including eligibility guidelines) are invited to call WIC’s Bristol office at 860.585.3280 or New Britain office at 860.225.8695. You can also check out our page, “Bristol Hospital WIC Program”, on Facebook or through the Bristol Hospital website list of departments—www.bristolhospital.org.