Coronavirus crisis: Mother's Nutritional Center offers shopping alternative as WIC enrollment soars in California

Enrollment in California's Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC, has spiked amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Friday, April 17, 2020
COVID-19: California WIC enrollment soars amid pandemic
COVID-19: California WIC enrollment soars amid pandemic

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- A Mother's Nutritional Center is offering a shopping alternative for families that are searching for essential items amid the coronavirus crisis.

The pandemic has forced the closure of businesses or resulted in reduced hours for many employees, and as a result food insecurity is on the rise.

Since the crisis began in late March, 35,000 families have been added to the California Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, commonly known as WIC.

"We have seen a lot of request come through our website and through the phone system," said Gayle Hoxter, director of the Riverside County WIC.

The program helps to supplement groceries for families who are pregnant or have children under the age of 5 and meet certain income requirements. Families can qualify by filling out an online application.

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"With COVID, our doors are closed to the public but staff are doing phone appointments instead of being face-to-face," said Hoxter "You do your appointment over the phone."

Once applicants fill out the forms and complete a phone interview they are eligible to receive an eWIC card in the mail to use at locations that accept them.

'We are open to everyone, everyone on EBT, anyone who just needs essential groceries," said Gloria Martinez, director of marketing for the Mother's Nutritional Center.

Mother's Nutritional Center is a grocery chain in Southern California that specializes in WIC-approved products.

"I know they have what my baby needs which is milk, eggs, fruit they never really go out of things like that. I know if I come here I will get what I need," said customer Derell Poe.

Poe said his family applied for WIC after his employer reduced his hours at work due to the coronavirus outbreak.

To learn more about applying for WIC or where to find a Mother's Nutritional Center click on the links.