FOOD. EDUCATION. SUPPORT.
The WIC and SNAP Navigation project includes three components.
- The first is to increase the number of WIC Vendors in Essex County. WIC vendors only exist in 5 communities in Essex County (of 18 Towns). This means families either need to travel further to use funds or not use funds at all. With the WIC Programs recent transition to an electronic system, the time is right to engage more vendors in accepting WIC dollars locally.
- The second component includes recruitment of eligible families into the program and promotion of new locations to help families find local vendors more easily. Currently Essex County WIC serves 700-800 people monthly, though census estimates demonstrate that almost double that number are eligible for the program. The Essex County WIC Program estimates about $20,000 monthly goes unused due both to limited access and lagging participation. This issue isn’t unique to Essex County, and is also being seen across NYS and the United States.
- The third component is to increase senior participation in the SNAP program. It is estimated a SNAP participant incurs approximately $1,400 less annually in healthcare expenses compared to a low-income non-SNAP participant. Partners are focusing on senior enrollment in SNAP to improve participation with this vulnerable population.