Catholic Charities of Buffalo has been awarded a five-year, $27 million contract to provide Women, Infants and Children program services in Chautauqua County for the first time beginning Oct. 1, and to continue providing WIC services across Erie and Niagara counties.
The federal WIC special supplemental nutrition program provides food, participant-centered nutrition education and referrals for eligible pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and infants and children under the age of 5. The New York State Department of Health states WIC program participants have longer, healthier pregnancies and fewer premature births.
In a competitive bid process, the state Health Department selected Catholic Charities to operate WIC in the three counties through September 2020.
Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services had administered the WIC Program most recently in that county. Catholic Charities has been the sole provider of WIC in Erie County since October 2009, following the transition of services from the Erie County Department of Health. In Niagara County, Catholic Charities has administered the program since 1985.
Catholic Charities WIC serves about 21,000 participants each month in Erie and Niagara counties, operating out of nine full-time sites and six sites on a part-time basis.
"We are delighted to welcome the families of Chautauqua County into the Catholic Charities WIC 'family,' " said Dennis C. Walczyk, Catholic Charities CEO. "It is our privilege to be able to grow the continuum of services we currently offer in Chautauqua County like basic assistance, counseling for all ages and other family-focused programs."
In 2014, Catholic Charities' services in Chautauqua County impacted more than 4,700 people.
"It has been a pleasure for the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services to have served county residents through the WIC program for the last five years," Director Christine Schuyler said. "We are confident that Catholic Charities will continue to deliver high-quality nutritional services and education to local women, infants and children, and we look forward to working with them."
The five current Chautauqua County WIC locations will remain the same under Catholic Charities. They are: 326 Central Ave., Dunkirk; 200 Harrison St., Jamestown; 58 S. Portage St., Westfield; 35 Park Place, Silver Creek; and 113 Church St., Sherman.
Judette Dahleiden, Catholic Charities WIC program director, said, "We are already working toward a seamless transition and customer-focused service for WIC participants in Chautauqua County. We are also grateful for the confidence the state Health Department has shown in the quality of our service delivery in Erie and Niagara counties conveyed through the renewal of these contracts and the addition of a third county."
Dahleiden added, "One of the many healthy initiatives Catholic Charities WIC has encouraged and provides substantial support, counseling, education and resources around is breastfeeding, since it is the best start for babies and offers long-term health and growth benefits."
Over the five years Catholic Charities has administered WIC services across Erie County, the percentage of participants choosing to breastfeed their infants has increased by 20 percent, to 64 percent. In east and central Buffalo, the number of participants who breastfed increased by 34 percent.
To learn more about WIC or to make
an appointment for any WIC site, call
716-218-1484 or go to ccwny.org/wic. For information on any other services Catholic Charities offers, call 716-856-4494 or visit ccwny.org.
Catholic Charities served more than 142,000 people in need in Western New York in 2014. For 92 years, Catholic Charities has been making a difference for people of every faith and ethnicity in Western New York. Catholic Charities empowers children, families and seniors to achieve meaningful, healthy and productive lives. In all situations, Catholic Charities delivers support to meet immediate needs, and then assesses clients for other needs to ensure long-term success. It is the most comprehensive human service provider serving Western New York.
Catholic Charities is an excellent steward of the contributions it receives. For five years, Catholic Charities attained the highest-possible rating (four stars) from Charity Navigator for transparency and sound fiscal management, and the agency receives the highest ratings from the Council on Accreditation for quality service.