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Authorities have contracted with the Cole County Health Department to continue to provide services for needy families through the 2021 federal fiscal year.

The county Health Department and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services have signed a contract allowing the county to provide Women, Infants and Children program services for 1,667 clients every month.

That represents an increase of 251 clients over the 2020 fiscal year, which had declined by 65 from the previous year.

WIC is a supplemental nutrition program that provides services to pregnant women, new mothers, infants and children up to their fifth birthday — based on nutritional risk and income eligibility.

The program provides primary health screenings, risk assessment, nutrition education and counseling, breastfeeding promotion and referrals to health care.

WIC recipients must have an income equal to or less than 185 percent of the poverty level and must have been determined by a health professional to be at nutritional risk.

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Migrant families are eligible for the program, according to a Cole County Health Department news release.

"WIC supplemental food packages are specially chosen to provide foods high in protein, iron, calcium and vitamins A and C," according to the news release. "Eligible women and children receive fortified milk and cheese, eggs, whole grain bread products and hot or cold cereals, 100 percent fruit juices and fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables."

The program is administered 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Cole County Health Department, 3400 W. Truman Blvd. in Jefferson City.

People seeking more information should call 573-636-2181 or visit colehealth.org.

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