Catholic Charities of Buffalo has been awarded a five-year, $27 million contract to start a federal food program in Chautauqua County as well as continue existing programs in Erie and Niagara counties.
The federal Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program provides food and nutrition education for eligible pregnant women, breast-feeding women, and infants and children under the age of 5.
Participants have longer, healthier pregnancies and fewer premature births, according to the state Department of Health.
The state Health Department selected Catholic Charities to operate WIC in the three counties through September 2020.
Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services previously administered the WIC program most recently in that county.
Catholic Charities has been the sole provider of WIC in Erie County since October 2009 and serves about 21,000 participants each month in Erie and Niagara counties, operating out of nine full-time sites and six sites on a part-time basis.
The five current Chautauqua County WIC locations will remain the same under Catholic Charities. They are: 326 Central Ave., Dunkirk; 200 Harrison St., Jamestown; 58 S. Portage St., Westfield; 35 Park Place, Silver Creek; and 113 Church St., Sherman.
“We are already working toward a seamless transition and customer-focused service for WIC participants in Chautauqua County,” said Judette Dahleiden, Catholic Charities WIC program director. Over the five years Catholic Charities has administered WIC services in Erie County, the percentage of participants choosing to breast-feed their infants has increased by 20 percent, to 64 percent. In east and central Buffalo, the number of participants who breast-fed increased by 34 percent.
To learn more about WIC or to make an appointment for any WIC site, call 218-1484 or go to ccwny.org/wic.