Eating healthy and nutritious food is always important, but it is most important when you are pregnant or have a family of your own. There are programs that you may be eligible for that can help with understanding nutrition and even help you pay for healthy foods.
WIC is a free health and nutrition program that has shown a positive effect on pregnancy outcomes, child growth, and child development. WIC participants receive help with breastfeeding, supplemental foods, nutrition education, and other health service referrals. WIC provides:
All of the following criteria must be met to qualify:
1. Be part of one of the following categories:
2. State of Michigan Resident (U.S. Citizenship is not required).
3. Be income eligible based on: at or below 185% of Federal Poverty Guidelines (which means you earn less than $29,101 for a family of two) or on Medicaid or food stamps. Here are the WIC program guidelines for income.
4. Determined by WIC clinic staff to be at nutrition and/or health risk.
Contact your local WIC agency or call 1-800-26-BIRTH (1-800-262-4784) for more information on your local WIC agency and how to apply. Visit the MDHHS site for more frequently asked questions about the WIC program.
This program allows for temporary assistance for food for people or families in Michigan based on their income. Once enrolled in the program, you will get a “Bridge Card” also known as the electronic benefit transfer (EBT) and this will be loaded monthly with the money you are given to spend on food. For questions about the Food Assistance Program call 1-855-275-6424. Visit the USDA site to see what foods qualify.
Go to the Michigan Bridges website to check if you are eligible. Your qualification will be based on the financial status of everyone in the household (everyone who buys food and lives together is considered a member of the same household). Usually, there will be a review of your income, expenses, etc. to see what you qualify for.
Apply online 24 hours a day, seven days a week here. Bring, mail or fax your assistance application to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services office in your area. The address and phone number of the office in your area is found in a phone book under the state government section, or here (the application form is available online here or at a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services office in your area).
Many communities in Michigan have food pantries and soup kitchens where you can go to get free food for you and your family. You can search for a local food pantry by zip code at the following sites: