Nutritious foods are an important component of staying healthy, especially for pregnant and nursing women, infants, and young children. But a tight budget may hinder your ability to buy the foods you know you and your child(ren) need. Fortunately, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program offers assistance in the form of free food and services, so that good nutrition is never out of reach. Keep reading to learn more about WIC and the many stores where you can redeem WIC benefits for healthy foods.
In This Article
What Exactly Is WIC?
WIC is a federal program that provides women and children in need with access to nutritional foods at no cost. Examples of nutritional foods covered through WIC include cereal, milk, eggs, cheese, peanut butter, and infant formula. WIC also provides nutritional counseling. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) funds the WIC program, dispensing funds at the state level, thereby allowing each state to operate their own WIC programs. All states participate in the WIC program.
To qualify for WIC, you must be a pregnant, postpartum, or breastfeeding woman who meets certain income requirements. WIC is also available to infants or young children (up to the age of five) living in low-income households or who may be at risk for malnutrition due to existing health issues.
Learn more about WIC eligibility requirements here.
Where Can I Use My WIC Benefits?
You can use your WIC benefits only at stores that have been approved by your state WIC agency.
In order to become WIC approved, stores must apply and be approved at the state level. This means that while a popular chain store, such as Safeway, may be approved to accept WIC in one state, it may not be approved in another.
While each state has their own basis for approval, common considerations for approval include the cost and selection of food at each store. The store’s history and owner are also part of the approval process. Should the owner have been disqualified from any other federal assistance program in the past, then the owner would likely not be approved to participate in the WIC program.
The List of WIC Approved Stores Local to Most
Grocery Stores That Accept WIC
The following national/regional grocery stores accept WIC as a form of payment for approved items in most states. While we verified this information by researching state WIC websites, it is possible that one or more of the following grocery stores may not be approved in your state. All states maintain a list of WIC-approved stores for easy reference. Visit this page of the USDA website to find the contact information of your local WIC agency.
- Bestway Supermarket
- Cub Foods
- Food Lion
- Giant Eagle
- Giant Food
- Harps Foods
- Harris Teeter
- King Soopers
- Rouses Markets
- Stop & Shop
- Tops Friendly Markets
- Whole Foods
Pharmacies That Accept WIC
While many of the above stores include their own pharmacies, a number of national pharmacies are also approved to accept WIC benefits in most states:
- Target Pharmacy
- Walmart Pharmacy
The WIC program provides nutritional assistance and services for expecting and new mothers, infants, and young children in need. Because WIC benefits are administered at the state level, a store approved to accept WIC benefits in one state may not be approved in another. However, our list grocery stores and pharmacies are approved in most states, thereby allowing you to get a good idea where you can cash in your WIC benefits for healthy foods.