NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Women, Infants and Children or WIC Program has transitioned to an electronic benefit transfer system from a paper-based method of issuing benefits. Tennessee families participating in WIC now use their TNWIC cards instead of paper vouchers to purchase WIC-approved foods. TNWIC is now available in all 95 counties of Tennessee.
“We are so excited to offer TNWIC to Tennessee families and our participating retail stores,” said TDH Deputy Commissioner for Population Health Morgan McDonald, MD, FACP, FAAP. “The new system makes transactions at cash registers more efficient for both shoppers and retailers and normalizes the shopping experience for our WIC participants who no longer have to redeem paper vouchers for their purchases.”
With the new TNWIC system, benefits for WIC-approved foods are automatically entered into an account and accessed with a card similar to a debit card. This card replaces paper vouchers and can be used at any of the 790 WIC-authorized stores statewide. WIC is an important economic driver in Tennessee communities: In 2018, Tennessee WIC participants redeemed almost $87 million in program benefits at WIC-authorized stores across the state.
“Our partners at Tennessee WIC have executed a TNWIC rollout plan that was thorough and methodical,” said Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association President and CEO Rob Ikard. “They brought WIC into the 21st century statewide with minimal disruption for the retailers, bringing maximum convenience to the customers we share.”
Each month more than 125,000 Tennesseans at nutritional risk receive WIC benefits provided through the Tennessee Department of Health in 124 county health departments, stand-alone clinics and hospital sites throughout the state. WIC provides supplemental food assistance and nutrition education to low-income pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants, and children until age five. In addition to healthy foods, nutrition education and breastfeeding support, WIC provides referrals to other health and community-based services. WIC has proven to be effective in preventing and improving nutrition-related health problems, including reducing obesity in a group of 2 – 4-year-old Tennessee participants.
“We want to thank all of our WIC staff members and our retail partners across the state, as well as our technology team for all their hard work and collaboration as we developed and implemented the TNWIC system,” said Tennessee WIC Director Peggy Lewis, MHE, RD, LDN. “This is an important milestone that benefits both our WIC participants and retailers.”
To learn more about WIC in Tennessee, contact your local health department www.tn.gov/health/health-program-areas/localdepartments.html, call 1-800-DIAL WIC (1-800-342-5942) or visit www.tn.gov/health/health-program-areas/fhw/wic.html.