By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator
An inviting aroma of freshly-cooked food greeted guests who walked into the Milford State Service Center on Friday morning.
Laura’s job is to show mothers who receive WIC benefits how to prepare healthy and inviting dishes based on items they can purchase using their vouchers.
In Delaware, one in five children lives in poverty.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website, WIC is a “Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) that provides Federal grants to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.”
The WIC food list includes fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, eggs, milk, cheese, peanut butter, bread, dried beans, and some cereals, and although the foods are healthy, some young parents may be challenged to make them appealing and appetizing to young children.
So Laura, and Amanda, her New Castle County counterpart, create recipes, demonstrate the preparation and offer samples to WIC recipients. In addition to Milford, Laura also visits service centers in Frankford, Georgetown, Seaford and Dover each month.
On Friday, she prepared a Sweet Potato, Corn and Black Bean Hash on an induction cooktop and a Mango Blueberry Smoothie in a blender for clients.
Kids, for example, might not be willing to sample avocado and sweet potato on their own merits, but Laura says it’s easy to sneak avocado or other vegetables into a very tasty smoothie.
Laura also offers WIC clients recipe cards, complete with step-by-step directions and nutritional information.
And there’s a bonus for mothers who agree to fill out a questionnaire/ survey for Laura.
The survey, which takes an estimated 3-5 minutes, asks questions about food frequency, WIC voucher use, plus a few knowledge-based questions.
Those who choose to participate go home with a cookbook full of useful and tasty recipes and a very colorful My Plate plate for their children.
For more information on this and other programs offered by the Food Bank of Delaware, visit www.fbd.org.