Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
October 27, 1999
TRENTON - The Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children - better know as the WIC program - celebrated its 25th year of service to New Jersey families today in a ceremony at the Masonic Temple in downtown Trenton.
Established in 1974 to address nutritional deficiencies among low-income women and children, WIC currently provides approximately 160,000 state residents healthy foods, nutritional counseling and support, and breast feeding education. The program also plays a vital role in referring women and children for immunizations and other health care services.
"The WIC program has been an instrumental part of improving health and the nutrition for many of New Jersey's most vulnerable residents," said Governor Christie Whitman. "For a quarter of a century, WIC has been making a real difference in the lives of those most in need."
Health and Senior Services Commissioner Christine Grant said, "WIC helps establish a solid foundation of health ensuring brighter futures for mothers and their children."
The National Association of WIC Directors reports that women who participate in WIC have longer pregnancies, leading to fewer premature births and low birth weight babies. WIC has also been credited with helping ensure normal childhood growth and development, reducing early childhood anemia, increasing immunization rates, and improving access to pediatric health care services.
WIC serves nearly 7.5 million participants nationwide annually. In New Jersey, pregnant and port-partum women, infants and children up to age 5 are served through more than 200 clinics. To be eligible for WIC, participants must have an income that is at or below 185% of the federally established poverty level and have a documented nutritional risk. Individuals receiving Medicaid, Food Stamps or Aid for Dependent Children assistance are also eligible for WIC.
Although direct food supplementation and nutritional counseling have been the primary functions of WIC since its inception, the program also serves as an excellent resource for promoting the New Jersey KidCare Program. KidCare offers reduced-cost health insurance for children whose families do not qualify for Medicaid and are unable to afford coverage.
Today's program included a videotaped message from Governor Christie Whitman and presentations by Commissioner Grant and United States Department of Agriculture Regional Director Christopher Martin. In addition, 26 WIC workers from 11 different organizations statewide will be honored for 20+ years of service with the program and special awards were given to two long-time supporters of WIC and family health issues.
Those with 20+ years of service were: Annie Reynolds, Cynthia Glenn, Doris Kilby, Deborah Lyons, Patricia Wilson and Merlene Hall of Newark WIC; Lana La Torre-Morgan and Barbara Keller of Camden WIC; Rosemary Zorzi of NORWESCAP WIC; Jean Monaco, Deborah Murray and Sheila Williams of Jersey City WIC; Zenaida Acunn of Trenton WIC; Maureen Luckett-Tuvey of North Hudson WIC; Kathy Javis and Yvonne Jones of Plainfield WIC; Nilsa Rodriguez of Passaic WIC; Linda Jadach, Barbara Ling, Martha Fitzpatrick and Patricia Williams of UMDNJ WIC; Irma Navarro and Cynthia Gibson of Burlington WIC; and Deborah Jones, Jean Malloy and Robert Atkinson of the WIC state office in Trenton.
Receiving special recognition for their support of WIC and family health issues were Dr. Leah Z. Ziskin, former Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Health and Senior Services, and Margaret Pond Zealand, M.P.H., New Jersey's first WIC coordinator.