The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently awarded their WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) Breastfeeding Award of Excellence to the Webster County Health Unit’s WIC Program. The Health Unit was one of just 20 programs in the Midwest to received the accolades. These awards are a part of the USDA’s National WIC Breastfeeding Week, celebrated August 1-7.

“Breastfeeding provides countless benefits to both babies and mothers, as well as many benefits to society as a whole, including decreased healthcare costs and increased productivity”, said Martha Gehrke, WIC Program Coordinator for the Health Unit. She added that “While breastfeeding is natural, there is a learning curve for moms and babies, and all mothers benefit from having a supportive environment in which to learn how to feed their babies. Many mothers find success in breastfeeding through education and support from breastfeeding peer counselors and lactation consultants, and providing these resources to mothers is a crucial part of the Health Unit’s WIC Program.”

The award program was established to recognize WIC local agencies that have provided exemplary breastfeeding promotion and support activities. Awards highlight successful models and encourage other local agencies to strengthen their breastfeeding promotion and support activities and ultimately increase breastfeeding initiation and duration rates among WIC participants.

Cheryl Kennedy, Regional Administrator for the USDA, in presenting the award, said “Your work with breastfeeding will have a lasting benefit to so many because it sets up mothers and children for a lifetime of healthy success. Thank you for the tremendous effort you put into your work every day. We could not be more grateful to have a skilled and compassionate partner like you working to support breastfeeding in WIC.”

The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition program is a supplemental food program for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or up to six-months postpartum, and for children up to five years old. Participants must qualify for the program based on income and nutritional risk.

Click here for WIC clinic locations and hours.
Each month the Webster County WIC program provides services to more than 900 women, infants and children. This vital grant from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has been renewed for the curr

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