Mississippi to close 13 food centers for low-income mothers

MGN Online

Mississippi is closing 13 food centers across the state that serve low-income mothers and children.

Posted: Aug 17, 2020 1:38 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi is closing 13 food centers across the state that serve low-income mothers and children as it prepares to start a new program early next year that will allow participants to use electronic cards to access supplies at grocery stores and pharmacies instead.

In the meantime, participants will still have access to benefits at centers elsewhere in the state. There are at least 80 food centers in Mississippi, the Commercial Dispatch reported.

Mississippi is one of the only states in the country that uses a warehouse distribution system and paper vouchers to distribute benefits to participants in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.

The state announced intentions to switch to electronic benefits transfer cards late last year, and that process will begin in January 2021 at the earliest. The eWIC card system will be easier to use and allow participants to access food at convenient locations, like stores, instead of having to pick up at warehouses, officials said.

Twelve centers are scheduled to close Sept. 30. They are in Rosedale, Ruleville, Okolona, Ackerman, Hollandale, Leland, Raymond, DeKalb, Raleigh, Eupora, Columbus and Southaven. Participants will have until Aug. 28 to pick up food there. A center in New Albany will close Dec. 31, and participants will have until Nov. 25 for final pick-ups.

While the 13 centers are closed, the Department of Health is working to ensure participants have an available food center within 30 miles of each WIC clinic, officials said in a news release last week.

“We know this will be a challenge for some of our participants and we are doing everything that we can to supply them nutritious foods the best way that we can during this transition,” said Jameshyia Ballard, WIC vendor director.

The 13 food centers that are closing in the coming months were either not being heavily used, or the warehouse’s landlords' chose not to extend the lease, officials said.

WIC provides “nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating including breastfeeding promotion and support, and referrals to health care” to low-income pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants and children up to age 5 who are considered to be at nutritional risk, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

WIC foods include “infant cereal, iron-fortified adult cereal, vitamin C-rich fruit or vegetable juice, eggs, milk, cheese, peanut butter, dried and canned beans/peas, and canned fish.”

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 844951

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161002006
Mobile741871379
Madison53279732
Shelby38325368
Baldwin38068589
Tuscaloosa36009641
Montgomery34482781
Lee25550263
Calhoun22585518
Morgan22451406
Etowah20013517
Marshall18777316
Houston17727425
St. Clair16875358
Limestone16135218
Cullman16044303
Elmore15904294
Lauderdale14968306
Talladega14189299
DeKalb12967269
Walker12020380
Blount10714192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10157194
Coffee9414192
Colbert9334208
Dale9018191
Tallapoosa7254201
Russell707765
Chilton7018170
Escambia6955143
Covington6932195
Franklin6340108
Chambers5783142
Marion5401130
Dallas5285209
Pike5118109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369480
Butler3434100
Marengo342393
Monroe337066
Randolph334367
Pickens333188
Fayette330085
Henry320666
Hale318189
Cherokee317563
Crenshaw260477
Washington256952
Cleburne254460
Lamar251253
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192762
Coosa184947
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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