The USDA is paying money to update Key Nutrition Benefits

The agency said modernization grants of more than $50 million from the United States could help the Department of Agriculture attract more qualified participants to key nutrition programs and support the delivery of more high-tech services.

The American Rescue Plan Act allocated $390 million to update the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, known as WIC, which provides nutritional assistance, nutrition education and referrals to other social services to low-income pregnant women, mothers, and infants. and young children.

In fiscal year 2021, 6.2 million people participated in WIC, but fewer than three out of five eligible people are registered with WIC, and participation decreases over time as children get older, the administration says.

One goal is to support online shopping for WIC, but the department is still working on new regulations, initially scheduled for fall 2021, that will remove major regulatory barriers to online shopping.

Of the $53 million recently awarded in grants, about $23 million went to 66 WIC state agencies (out of a total of 89 state and tribal agencies) to improve technology and service delivery using scheduling tools and clear language efforts, according to a USDA spokesperson .

The nonprofit Food and Research Action Center received $20 million to focus on outreach to current and potential WIC participants across state and local agencies, community organizations, and other nonprofits.

In addition, 19 WIC agencies were awarded nearly $10 million to modernize in-store shopping and online shopping planning.

“These grants build on USDA’s extensive efforts to strengthen the WIC program, make it easier and more convenient for participants, and use data and feedback from stakeholders to fulfill our commitment to serve them well,” Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said in a statement. “We must do everything we can to connect eligible mothers, infants and children to the program and provide them with a positive and meaningful experience.”

In addition to WIC, the Department of Agriculture is also looking to update the SNAP Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. As with WIC, the main focus is online shopping, which was first authorized by Congress in 2014.

The program has been able to scale up experimental online shopping programs post-pandemic. Nearly 3.5 million SNAP participants shopped online in August 2022 — up from 35,000 in March 2020, according to a report released by the USDA coinciding with the release of the new White House strategy on hunger, nutrition, and health.

For the WIC program, one of the Department of Agriculture’s main task items to stand on online shopping in the long term is to change regulations to remove current regulatory barriers to online shopping in the program.

The ministry initially listed the timeline for a proposed rulemaking notification to be issued in November 2021, but it has not yet been published. FNS is still working on publishing this proposed rule that would remove regulatory barriers and update vendor regulations, a USDA spokesperson told FCW.

The department also awarded a $4.1 million grant for a three-year trial of online shopping through the Gretchen Swanson Nutrition Center in seven states in 2021. Participating states are still in the planning and preparation phase, according to a USDA spokesperson. The timeline is for online shopping to start next year.

The USDA is paying money to update Key Nutrition Benefits

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to top