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OCO and WIC Keeping Oswego County Healthy

OSWEGO, NY – Thanks to the efforts of Oswego County Opportunities and the New York State WIC Program, children and their families will soon be able enjoy the process of growing and eating their own fresh vegetables.

Alicia Handville (left) of OCO’s WIC program helps Emma plant bean seeds. As part of its Healthy Lifestyles initiative WIC is providing participants with starter pots, soil, and seeds to that they may grow, harvest and enjoy their own fresh fruits and vegetables. For more information on WIC, call 315-343-1311.
Alicia Handville (left) of OCO’s WIC program helps Emma plant bean seeds. As part of its Healthy Lifestyles initiative WIC is providing participants with starter pots, soil, and seeds to that they may grow, harvest and enjoy their own fresh fruits and vegetables. For more information on WIC, call 315-343-1311.

As part of its Healthy Lifestyles initiative WIC is providing children with the seeds and soil they need to grow their own vegetables.

With its emphasis on nutrition education and healthy food choices the planting project is a way to encourage participants to add fresh fruits and vegetables to their diet.

Supplies and information are available at all WIC locations.

“The children are excited about the thought of growing their own fruit and vegetables,” said Alicia Handville, a member of WIC’s Nutrition Support staff.  “We have had tremendous support from a variety of local businesses that graciously donated the seeds, soil and starter pots we needed to get the program under way. It would not have been possible without the support we received from Ontario Orchards, Price Chopper in Fulton, Target, and both the Oswego and Fulton Wal-Marts. This project is a fun way to increase a child’s interest in fruits and vegetables. They will be more apt to try what they have spent time caring for and introduce new fruits and vegetables into their diet.”

WIC encourages it participants to support local farmers by purchasing fruits and vegetables at their local farmers market.

WIC issues checks specifically for the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables and provides participants with annual vouchers to be used at a farmers market.

Another aspect of WIC’s Healthy Lifestyles initiative is an effort to increase the awareness of the WIC program and the many benefits it provides for participants.

Handville, along with WIC Nutritionist Ashley Ward have been attending health fairs throughout Oswego County and WIC staff and participants walked in the Independence Day Parade in Oswego.

“We have also been collaborating with the Oswego Walmart to introduce ‘Weigh-in Wednesday.’ On the first Wednesday of each month WIC staff will be on site to weigh children up to 5 years of age and provide parents and caregivers with information on the healthy eating and the WIC program. Weigh-In Wednesdays are not limited to WIC participants, and child up to 5 years of age is welcome,” explained Handville.

Administered locally through OCO, the New York State WIC program provides women, infants and children with supplemental food and nutrition education.

The program serves pre-natal, breast-feeding, post-partum women (up to six months) and infants and children up to the age of five.

Nutrition education and breastfeeding education is the main focus of the WIC program.

“At every appointment WIC participants meet with a staff nutritionist to educate them on the importance of a healthy diet for themselves and their children.  Our goal is to educate and empower participants. While there are approximately 3,000 women and children participating in the WIC program there are many more that benefit greatly from WIC. We want to make all moms aware of WIC and how it can benefit their families. WIC is a hand-up, not a handout,” Ward said.

In addition to WIC’s main office at 10 George St., inside OCO’s medical services building, the WIC program is available at seven other sites throughout Oswego County:

The Ringgold Fire Station, 12 Lake St. in Pulaski

Believer’s Chapel, 614 S. Fourth St. in Fulton

The Methodist Church, 2031 Harwood Drive in Sandy Creek

The Baptist Church, 701 N. Main St. in Central Square

The Hastings Fire Station, 1994 US Route 11 in Hastings

The Phoenix Fire Station, 457 Main St. in Phoenix

The Church of God, 11 S. Jefferson St. in Mexico

Appointments are preferred and may be made by calling 315-343-1311.