New app helps women, kids in Indiana food program

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — If you’re in the Indiana Women, Infants, and Children program, things are about to get a lot easier for you.

Starting Monday, Indiana Department of Health is launching a new app designed to help people in the nutrition program that promotes healthier eating.

Andrea Helms said she works hard by herself to care for her daughter and 2-month-old son. But, it’s hard to make ends meet.

“It’s tight. The budget’s tight,” Helms said. “I live off a fixed income, get paid once a month. The budget’s tight, but I make it work.”

That’s why she’s one of 145,000 Hoosiers who get monthly food benefits from the state’s program for women and children.

“Basically, WIC covers almost all of our needs, especially for Jesus’ milk,” Helms said as she held her infant son.

She said often when she’s grocery shopping, things can get a little confusing about what foods are WIC-approved.

“Or I have to ask the lady at the checkout, or I have to stop and call my card and enter my card number and wait to hear all the prompts,” Helms said.

Starting Monday, the Department of Health said WIC recipients can download the new smartphone app. It will allow users to scan bar codes on food at the stores and instantly see what’s approved. It’s all part of a $1.2 million federal grant, and WIC Executive Director Eldon Whetstone said the app is a first in the Midwest.

Whetstone said, “It puts the power of WIC in the clients’ hands. They can tell exactly what they have left on their card for that month, where they can use it and what items they can purchase.”

“That would be great!” Helms said. “To be able to have that app and check that out before you go to the store.”

Helms said this app will save her time and money.

Director Whetstone said recipients can download the app in the Apple and Google Play stores.

He said the Department is staggering rollout across the state, a handful of counties at a time.

He also said recipients should watch for a text message from WIC between now and Thursday. The whole state should be able to use the app by the end of this week.

For more information, call 800-522-0874 or email inwic@isdh.in.gov.