Catholic Charities Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program Healthy Baby Festival is going virtual this year. Expectant and young families are invited to attend the festival virtually through an event on Catholic Charities of Buffalo’s Facebook page on Wednesday, Aug. 5.
Throughout the day on Aug. 5, a series of fun and informational material will be posted, covering everything from breastfeeding tips to nutrition and cooking videos, to virtual exercise classes. Videos and other material will be provided by staff from Catholic Charities WIC, as well as from several local organizations including: Buffalo Prenatal-Perinatal Network, Catholic Health and Snap-Ed New York. There will also be prize giveaways thanks to festival sponsor, BlueCross BlueShield.
“Families are invited to check in throughout the day and pick and choose which activities they’d like to engage in,” said Judette Dahleiden, director of Catholic Charities WIC. “We really have a great variety of material, so there should be something of value for everyone. Although so much has changed this year, Catholic Charities WIC is excited to still offer this fun, educational event for our WIC families and the community at large.”
Catholic Charities WIC hosts the events in celebration of World Breastfeeding Week (Aug. 1-7) to raise awareness about the significance and benefits that breastfeeding provides. Typically, the festivals are held at parks in Erie, Niagara and Chautauqua counties, where Catholic Charities is the WIC administrator.
More than 23,000 women and children up to the age of 5 were served by WIC in 19 locations across the three counties in 2019. Since the pandemic outbreak locally in mid-March, Catholic Charities WIC has been predominantly providing services remotely over the phone to new and existing clients, but still offering limited office hours for special circumstances.
Nutrition education and counseling, breastfeeding support, prenatal and postpartum support, referrals and supplemental food vouchers are all offered by WIC. Services are available through application to married or single parents, foster parents or other legal guardians of a child under 5. All services offered are free of charge.