Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ivana Campbell
The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Overseas program provides assistance to active duty service members and their growing families. Created in 2001, WIC Overseas ensures families stationed overseas have similar benefits to those stationed stateside.
WIC Overseas is funded and run by the Department of Defense (DoD) and is designed to assist families with purchasing nutritious food in addition to their usual groceries. All active duty service members, government civilian employees and DoD contractors living overseas are eligible to apply. Additionally, pregnant women are eligible throughout their pregnancy and up to six weeks after delivery or when the pregnancy ends. Breastfeeding women can continue to use the program until their infant’s first birthday, while women not breastfeeding can use it for up to six months after the child’s birth. WIC Overseas also provides access to individualized care from Nutritionists, Registered Dietitians and Nurses on dietary and prenatal concerns and ideas for recipes, meal planning, and even food preparation.
“Families are encouraged to enroll in WIC Overseas because it is a program that provides nutrition information, health screenings and supplemental foods,” said Margaret Applewhite, WIC Overseas program manager. “The program is free and provides valuable information and resources for topics such as prenatal nutrition, infant feeding, growth and development at the different life stages, postpartum nutrition and breastfeeding support.”
Eligible participants receive an approved list and checks called “drafts” redeemable for specific foods in overseas commissaries and NEXMARTs (drafts are accepted only at these overseas stores). The program also allows someone authorized with Power of Attorney to register with the WIC Overseas office and shop on a family’s behalf if the member is deployed or has a medical condition that prevents them from shopping.
Participants in stateside WIC qualify for WIC Overseas and only need to fill out a verification form to keep receiving drafts and assistance at their respective overseas base.
“Family size is also an important criteria for assessing eligibility,” said Applewhite. “We encourage all families to call or stop by our offices for an eligibility screening, regardless of income.”
For more information in Yokosuka, contact the WIC Overseas office at 243-9426, or visit www.tricare.mil/wic.
CFAY provides, maintains, and operates base facilities and services in support of 7th Fleet’s Forward-Deployed Naval Forces, 83 tenant commands, and 24,000 Military and civilian personnel.