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: 148387

Reported Deaths: 3769
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto9874101
Hinds9821198
Harrison6982110
Jackson6218119
Rankin5417102
Lee498495
Madison4711106
Forrest375086
Jones352488
Lauderdale3412145
Lafayette319749
Washington3153107
Lamar286349
Oktibbeha243562
Bolivar240884
Lowndes232864
Neshoba2189118
Panola218849
Marshall211950
Leflore203490
Pontotoc199128
Monroe196077
Sunflower191055
Lincoln187865
Warren174157
Tate166951
Union165325
Pike160958
Copiah160440
Yazoo152939
Scott151829
Itawamba151134
Coahoma149543
Pearl River149467
Alcorn148228
Simpson146353
Prentiss143730
Adams139250
Grenada138845
Leake133243
Holmes127861
Tippah123730
George123524
Covington120938
Winston120024
Hancock117639
Wayne116923
Marion114846
Attala111234
Tishomingo108742
Chickasaw106932
Newton104229
Tallahatchie96727
Clay89927
Clarke89153
Jasper81722
Walthall76028
Stone75214
Calhoun73713
Montgomery72825
Carroll71415
Lawrence70714
Yalobusha70527
Smith70316
Noxubee70017
Perry65826
Tunica60219
Greene59722
Claiborne57916
Jefferson Davis56017
Humphreys53119
Amite52714
Benton49017
Quitman4846
Webster42314
Kemper42118
Wilkinson38722
Jefferson34711
Franklin3345
Choctaw3157
Sharkey30817
Issaquena1144
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 241957

Reported Deaths: 3572
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson31809500
Mobile19651361
Madison12964148
Tuscaloosa12946154
Montgomery12263236
Shelby1016177
Baldwin857698
Lee771866
Morgan648050
Calhoun6215119
Etowah618266
Marshall618255
Houston522438
DeKalb480436
Cullman433442
Limestone418645
St. Clair413655
Elmore403764
Lauderdale396754
Walker3620111
Talladega347954
Jackson311723
Colbert306042
Blount287940
Autauga270442
Franklin250233
Coffee242015
Dale231754
Dallas225232
Russell22123
Chilton220638
Covington218034
Escambia197931
Chambers176450
Tallapoosa175491
Pike158114
Clarke157619
Marion137136
Winston131123
Lawrence126336
Pickens121618
Geneva12108
Marengo120224
Barbour117010
Bibb117017
Butler115341
Randolph101921
Cherokee101024
Hale96031
Clay91024
Washington90719
Fayette89316
Henry8526
Lowndes79429
Monroe78311
Cleburne76914
Macon73022
Crenshaw70930
Bullock69419
Conecuh68314
Perry6836
Lamar6678
Wilcox63118
Sumter57522
Greene42318
Choctaw42113
Coosa3414
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