Montefiore celebrates 30th anniversary of WIC program

Montefiore’s president and CEO Dr. Steven Safyer, pictured on the far right, with the staff of the hospitals WIC program at a 30th anniversary celebration on Tuesday, July 14. Photo by Victor Chu

Montefiore’s Woman Infants and Children supplemental food and nutritional education program celebrated its 30th anniversary at its present location at Westchester Square, with its original director coming back to see how it has grown.

Montefiore’s WIC anniversary party was held at 22 Westchester Square on Tuesday, July 14. Face painting for children and presentations from Montefiore and the Department of Health preceded the festivities.

Montefiore serves more than 10,000 people through the WIC program. There are two other locations: one at Montefiore’s Fordham Family Practice at One Fordham Plaza, and at the other at Comprehensive Care Center at 432 E. 161st Street.

WIC is a federally-funded program providing services to low-income pregnant, post-partum, and breastfeeding women, infants, and children up to the age of five who are at nutritional risk.

“Montefiore has been a leader in providing increased access for these vulnerable children and families of our Bronx communities,” said Dr. Steven Safyer, president and CEO of Montefiore Medical Center. “We are proud to commemorate 30 years of helping to secure the health of our community.”

Safyer went on to say that while it was the mission of Montefiore to care for people with illness, whatever the condition, it was the goal of the medical center to be wellness center.

“Montefiore takes care of people who need medical care – we are here in the borough for anything they may need,” Safyer stated. “But we are also very passionate about wellness.”

He added: “Women and children are our future. Children do best when they have good nutrition and a head start. While we will take care of people who are sick, our real passion is to keep people healthy.”

Montifiore’s WIC program, which was on of the first in the state, help women with prenatal nutrition, provide cooking classes, and FitWIC kits for children which provides access to fun activities that promote physical health.

“Our goal is to meet our clients wants and needs,” said Sharon McClure, Montefiore WIC director. “Sometimes we are all of these roles combined into one – we’re psychiatrists too!”

One of the main goals of Montefiore’s WIC program, besides helping to dispense WIC checks for food purchases, is to help fight the obesity epidemic.

“We give mothers nutritional education before and after they give birth,” McClure said. “The causes of obesity are lack of options, and we try to give families options. Basically, education is the key to fighting obesity.”

The original director of Montefiore’s WIC program, Dolores Stewart, was also on hand to celebrate its success.

To be eligible for WIC, applicants’ family income must fall at or below 185 percent of the U.S. Poverty Income Guidelines, currently $39,200 for a family of four.

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