• Fewer people apply for benefits
     | March 01,2013

    MONTPELIER — Fewer eligible people are using nutritional benefits, and area health officials say they don’t know why.

    The news was part of a report given to the Montpelier City Council on Wednesday.

    State health staffers said Vermont’s WIC program remains a consistently underserved area. The program provides participants with a debit card programmed with a monthly cash allowance for fruit and vegetable purchases; informational services; support and help with breast-feeding; and free delivery of healthy food. The program focuses on women, infants and children, but male caretakers can also be eligible.

    Participants must meet income restrictions of about $42,000 or less for a family of four. Families must also have nutritionally or medically at-risk pregnant, postpartum or breast-feeding women and children younger than 5 years old.

    The Vermont Department of Health-Barre District Office also is looking to strengthen a Vermont Emergency Response Volunteers database, which is a system that helps deploy trained people to emergencies when needed.

    Bonnie Alexander, a public health nutritionist, also noted that there are free immunizations to the uninsured the first Tuesday of each month. She said 350 people recently received vaccinations for whooping cough.

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