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Hidalgo County WIC to launch summer food pilot program

The Hidalgo County Women Infants and Children program has received funding to add a summer food pilot program to their list of services.

The Hidalgo County Women Infants and Children program has received funding to add a summer food pilot program to their list of services.

Ariadna Salazar, 25, and her newborn baby, Arianna, are two of over 65,000 women, children, and infants each year who receive supplemental foods, like eggs, fruit, milk, and baby formula at the 25 WIC clinics in Hidalgo County.

"I would spend over $200 and when I started with the WIC program, what I spent went down a lot," Salazar said. "I would spend $120 or $150 dollars, making a big difference. I would see more food in my cart, and we would have enough to last longer.”

WIC Nutrition Program Director Clarissa Ramirez said a $75,000 grant from the Texas Department of State Health Services will allow six WIC clinics to launch a summer food pilot program.

"Our goal is to provide nutrition education to our participants, breast feeding support, and referrals to people who qualify for WIC. "We also provide high risk counseling."

The meals will consist of a milk serving, two servings of vegetables and/or fruit, a whole grain serving or bread serving, and a serving of meat or meat alternatives, according to Ramirez.

All food will be supplied and delivered by Catholic charities. Ramirez said they expect to fill the stomachs of 10 to 15 children a day, but families must meet certain qualifications first.

"They have to meet income guidelines," said Ramirez. "They have to be at nutrition risk, and they have to reside in the state of Texas.”

The WIC Summer Food Pilot Program will begin June 1 and is for children 18 and under, along with the person who accompanies them to the clinic.

The program will be offered at WIC clinics in Mercedes, Donna, Edinburg, Sullivan City, and at two clinics in Alton.

To find a nearby meal site and hours of operation, text FOODTX to 877-877, or visit summerfood.org.

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