MORGANTOWN — Fresh fruits and vegetables will be available to clients of Monongalia County Health Department’s Women, Infants & Children (WIC) program via vouchers that will be distributed this month at farmers markets in Monongalia, Preston, Marion and Harrison counties.
Farmers market vouchers have been distributed to WIC clients during previous summers and the program has been successful in these four counties. Because of that, this year’s MCHD WIC voucher budget has been increased to $9,000, up from last year’s $7,740.
“It’s a wonderful program that encourages families to visit the market to get to know their local farmers and to purchase local produce,” said Anne MacBride, WIC program manager.
Voucher recipients must be active clients of WIC, receiving benefits in the county where vouchers are being distributed. WIC participants are pregnant, breastfeeding or postpartum women, infants over the age of 6 months and children up to age 5 whose family meets WIC income guidelines.
Those guidelines were just updated in April. For example, for a family of four, those guidelines are: $893 gross weekly income, $1,786 gross bi-weekly income, $1,935 gross twice monthly income, $3,870 gross monthly income and $46,435 gross annual income.
Vouchers will be available beginning Saturday in Monongalia, Preston and Harrison counties and June 12 in Marion County. Times and locations are listed below.
Vouchers are issued on a first come, first served basis as long as vouchers remain available in each county. Each eligible participant may receive $20 in vouchers up to a maximum of $40 per family at initial issuance. There are two $5 vouchers, for a total of $10, in each book. Vouchers must be used before Oct. 31. Participants must present their eWIC card when receiving vouchers.
Vouchers will be given out during subsequent weeks at the same times and locations until the supply is gone. Once vouchers in each county are exhausted, no additional vouchers will be issued. Participants must use vouchers to purchase fresh, nutritious, unprepared fruits, vegetables and herbs from participating farmers.
Participants who take vouchers are strongly encouraged to use them all. Funding for the program is based on redemption rates in participating counties.
“We need the clients who do get the vouchers to redeem them,” MacBride added. “The more vouchers redeemed, the more funding we will have in the future.”
The voucher schedule
— Monongalia County— 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, Morgantown Farmers Market, 415 Spruce St., Morgantown (corner of Spruce and Fayette streets).
— Preston County, 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Kingwood Farmers Market, McGrew House Lawn, 111 E. Main St., Kingwood.
— Harrison County, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 9, Clarksburg Farmers Market, Tractor Supply parking lot on Emily Drive, next to A.C. Moore, Clarksburg.
— Marion County, 4 to 6 p.m. June 12, Fairmont Farmers Market at its new location, Palatine Park parking lot, Fairmont.