HOUSTON — The Houston Health Department’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program and the Houston Food Bank will provide free healthy meals to children during summer appointments at nine WIC centers across the city.
Children up to age 5 with a WIC appointment will receive breakfast or lunch between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. starting Tuesday, June 6. Their siblings age 18 and under accompanying the family to the appointments are also eligible for the meals.
A child can receive two free meals throughout the schoolyear, but during the summer a family has to provide 10 additional meals.
Participating WIC centers are:
• Alief WIC, 12660 Beechnut, Suite 180
• Sharpstown WIC, 6201 Bonhomme #330 South
• Braesner WIC, 8632 South Braeswood
• Sunnyside WIC, 9314 Cullen
• La Nueva Casa De Amigos WIC, 1809 North Main Street
• Northside WIC, 8504 Schuller
• Aldine WIC, 5198 Aldine Mail Route
• Airline WIC, 5990 Airline Suite 200 and
• Northwest WIC, 8536 Hammerly.
Summer meals include sandwiches, wraps and salads with grilled chicken or turkey during lunch hours and a variety of cereals, muffins and juices and milk for breakfast.
Nearly two-and-a-half million Texas children qualify for free or reduced priced meals during the school year. Yet only 11 percent of those children participate in summer meals programs.
WIC provides nutritious foods and nutrition education to pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, women who have given birth in the last six months and children up to age 5 who have nutrition health-related problems. Single fathers, grandparents and foster parents are also eligible for WIC services for their children.
“Aside from WIC’s quality nutritious foods, our registered dietitians also give families valuable guidance that can keep them healthy,” said Zahra Koopaei, WIC director.
WIC’s goal is to reduce premature births, low birth weight, the fetal death rate and long-term medical expenses.
Typically, WIC provides prenatal and breastfeeding support for mothers, formula for infants who are not breastfeeding and supplemental foods such as cereal, eggs, milk, juice, fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, peanut butter and cheese for women and children. Beginning at 6 months, infants receive strained fruits, vegetables and cereal, and, if breastfed, meats are added to their diet.
A pregnant woman with an annual income of $22,311 or less and a family of four with annual income of $45,510 or less qualify for WIC benefits. For more information about the summer meals program or enrolling in WIC, call 832-393-5427.