Vermilion County Health Department program to hold walk-in clinics

DANVILLE - The Vermilion County Health Department's Women, Infants and Children program will hold twice-a-month walk-in clinics at the Housing Authority of the City of Danville Office at 1607 Clyman Lane starting on May 16.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children - shortened to WIC - is a federal nutrition program that provides nutritious supplemental foods, health care referrals, breastfeeding support, and nutrition education.  The program is available to eligible pregnant and postpartum women, in addition to infants and children up to the age of five.

The Vermilion County Health Department's WIC program has been in the community for 40 years, providing these valuable services.

Mothers who participate in the WIC program are more likely to initiate breastfeeding, and to breastfeed longer.  The WIC program can provide iron-fortified formula for infants of mothers who choose to not breastfeed.

The program started an enhanced food package a few years ago, emphasizing fruits, vegetables and grains.  These foods are purchased with vouchers that can be redeemed at grocery stores.  WIC also participates in the farmers' market program, which provides additional locally grown fruits and vegetables during the summer.

“This has proven to show positive changes in children's diet, and reductions in childhood obesity,” said Cheryl Sprague, the WIC Program supervisor.

The clinic at the Housing Authority Office will be open on the first and third Tuesday of each month, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., with a one-hour break at noon.  No appointments are necessary.

The satellite WIC clinic is part of the Housing Authority's mission to provide helpful services to its residents.

“The Housing Authority is happy to open our doors to the Vermilion County Health Department for this important service to women, infants and children, as support and education for new mothers will certainly impact the child's development,” said Jaclyn Vinson, the Executive Director for the Housing Authority for the City of Danville.

The health department has not offered WIC services outside of the main office at 200 South College Street in Danville for years, and the staff members are excited to be able to set up satellite clinics again.

“The Housing Authority officials have been very gracious hosts, and will be a great location for us,” said Douglas Toole, Public Health Administrator.  “This should ease some of the transportation and scheduling problems that face our clients on the east side of Danville, and we hope that it will bring in additional clients, as well.”

Even working families can be eligible for WIC services.  A family of four with a gross annual income of up to $44,955 would meet the income guidelines to receive services.

“About half of the babies born in Vermilion County are born to WIC-eligible moms,” Sprague said.  “There are many in the community who are not on WIC who we know would be eligible for it.”

The WIC program is open at the health department from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. during the week, except for Thursdays when the program is open from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. to better accommodate those with work, school or transportation issues.

WIC services will continue to be offered on Tuesdays at the health department, even on satellite clinic days.

In most cases, clients make appointments to receive WIC services at the health department, but the program now offers “Walk-In Wednesdays,” a day when clients without appointments can come in and receive services.

The satellite clinic at the Housing Authority will be open to the public, and not just to residents of the Fair Oaks public housing complex.  The health department hopes to offer satellite clinics in the north and south portions of the county, as well, in the future.

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