Ocala, Florida — The Florida Department of Health in Marion County will launch the WIC electronic benefits transfer system in all Marion County WIC offices March 3, 2014.
Marion County WIC offices in Ocala, Belleview, Dunnellon, Lynne and Reddick will close February 24th–28th to allow staff to complete the conversion from paper checks to the electronic benefit transfer, or EBT debit card system. WIC offices will reopen March 3, 2014 and begin issuing the new EBT cards.
WIC, the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, is rolling out the EBT system statewide to better serve Florida families who rely on the program. The EBT debit cards will replace the paper check system currently in use.
“The EBT system will make it easier for families who need WIC services to get the nutritious foods they need,” said Cheryl Brown, acting health officer for the Florida Department of Health in Marion County. “Easier access to healthy foods will mean better health for moms, kids and babies.”
“The transition to the EBT system will be more efficient and cost effective for the WIC program, for vendors, and for Marion County families,” said Mary Anne Hitson, director of the Public Health Nutrition Program at the Florida Department of Health in Marion County. “The electronic card will allow for faster checkout times for families, and easier processing for vendors.”
WIC is a federally funded program that provides healthy food, as well as breastfeeding education and nutrition counseling to needy families. Marion’s WIC Program operates five sites throughout the county where families improve their diet and food choices with the assistance of licensed nutritionists and nutrition educators. In Marion County, the average annual value of WIC foods received by WIC clients is more than $7 million.
For more information on WIC services in Marion County call 352- 622-1161.