The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a program that seeks to aid “low-income women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutrition risk” (USDA website). The program offers nutritious foods, information on healthy eating, as well as health care referrals. WIC recognizes the dangers of food deserts to low income women, infants, and children and has worked hard to spread the program to all 50 states as well as Puerto Rico,
The WIC program offers access to healthful foods including fresh milk, eggs, cheese, fruits and vegetables, and many others. There is also a supplemental program called the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program which allows WIC members to purchase fresh produce at local farmers’ markets. One of WIC’s major goals is to “increase the access to fruits and vegetables and whole grains for children and women” (USDA website). Their work to assist with the issue of food deserts has been extremely beneficial, but the fight isn’t nearly over.
Unfortunately, as Andrea Sparks points out in her thesis, the lack of supermarket access in food deserts affects government assistance programs like WIC. When people living in food deserts are forced to shop at the closer, more expensive stores, the public assistance money doesn’t go as far in helping the problem as it would at a more moderately priced supermarket.
Sparks, Andrea. "Measuring Food Deserts." June 2008.