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Summit County Government

Posted on: April 6, 2020

Summit County WIC Encourages Community-Minded Shopping

Public Health WIC Ximena

Residents should avoid hoarding grocery items that are important for local families

Contact: Whitney Horner, Summit County WIC Director, 668-9199 

SUMMIT COUNTY – Many Coloradans are concerned about access to healthy food for pregnant women and children under 5 years old who are served by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). There are more than 80,000 people who shop for WIC foods each month in our state, and these families are facing the same challenges as everyone else in finding certain foods and products on grocery shelves at all times.

WIC provides specific foods to help clients meet their nutritional needs. Families who cannot find that food have limited options to substitute other items. Concern stemming from this situation has led to grassroots efforts encouraging people to avoid shopping at the beginning of the month or not buy WIC-authorized foods to help the families who are looking for them. This can be difficult, as items are not always labeled “WIC” on the shelf.

COWIC (the state health department WIC program for Colorado) recognizes this challenge for all families who seek to purchase healthy staples. To date, COWIC has:

  • Worked with retail and distribution partners to encourage prioritization and consideration for stocking WIC-authorized items.
  • Encouraged through social media and other messaging for everyone to “leave one for your neighbor” rather than overbuying.
  • Added new options for COWIC families to substitute if their usual choices are out of stock, including 2% milk (usually not covered by WIC) and larger sizes of whole-grain breads and corn tortillas.
  • Provided shopping tips for clients and additional information for grocery store staff.
  • Continued to look at shopping trends and talk to retailers to see if there are other adjustments we can make (federal waivers may be required).
  • Collaborated with statewide anti-hunger advocacy groups working on additional resources for all Coloradans facing food insecurity during this crisis.

Whitney Horner, our local Summit County WIC Director tells that Summit County WIC is currently serving over 240 participants and the program has been enrolling new participants daily.

“Summit County WIC participants are our neighbors, our friends, and our fellow community members,” Horner said. “We are all navigating unprecedented times and it is up to all of us as individuals to be mindful at the grocery store. Please avoid stockpiling items, such as infant formula, to ensure that all shoppers are able to purchase the products their households need.” 

Additional Resources:

COWIC-authorized food list

COWIC Website Alerts page with the most recent updates including shopping tips in English and Spanish (additional languages in production).

For additional information, please contact:

Heidi Hoffman, Colorado WIC Director

Whitney Horner, Summit County WIC Director


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