JACKSON, Miss. (WDAM) - The Mississippi State Department of Health announced Thursday that it will be closing all 81 of its Women, Infants and Children food distribution sites in the state in the coming months.
The WIC Nutritional program provides healthy food to pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants, and children under 5 years of age. Around 85,000 Mississippians are currently enrolled in the program.
The closings are due to WIC clients being transferred to the use of electronic banking and debit card for food purchases under federal mandate, according to MSDH.
The new eWIC cards will allow clients to have the choice of where to purchase food and infant formula. The list of products available has been expanded as well.
Clients will be able to swipe the eWIC cards at approved grocery stores and enter a pin, just like a debit card.
For now, clients will use paper vouchers at the existing food centers for their WIC food as the eWIC phased rollout happens over the next few months.
The food distribution sites will permanently close by late summer and early fall. Approximately 70 positions will be eliminated.
Below is a map of approved vendors where the eWIC cards can be used.