WOOD COUNTY, OH (WTOL) - We all know fruits and vegetables are good for us, but sometimes produce, especially locally grown, can be expensive.
"He loves eating fruits and vegetables," said Alyssa Clark about her son. With baby number two on the way, she says the health of her kids is of the utmost importance to her.
The WIC program, which stands for Women, Infants and Children, makes it possible for her.
"Not everyone can just afford to go out and buy baby food for the month, when they get to that age where they start eating," Clark said.
The Farmers' Market Nutrition Program, through WIC, allows qualifying families to get vouchers to buy fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs from local farmers during the summer months. The program is new in Wood County this year.
"WIC is all about nutrition. They want to make sure that people get the nutrition they need to have health babies, healthy children, healthy moms," Pay Snyder with Wood County Health said. "And so part of this is to make sure they can get local, fresh produce."
People who already qualify for WIC, can get $20 worth of coupons to buy produce from participating farmers at farmers markets. You'll see a sign at their booth showing they take the coupons.
Lucas County has offered the coupons for decades, although only about 50 percent of those eligible actually redeem them. The Health Department is working to send out reminder post cards by the end of the month.
WIC says the program doesn't just benefit families.
"The program helps farmers because it encourages people to buy local, instead of buying a product that's been shipped from another part of the country," Snyder said.
You can begin redeeming coupons through Wood County WIC, June 1st. The county has 100 sets to give out. If there is a need, more will be requested next year.
In Lucas County, distribution starts July 10th. There will also be a booth at the downtown Toledo Farmers' Market on July 15th and 29th as well as August 12th and 26th from 8:00am-12:00pm at which participants may also pick up their coupons.
Lucas County has more than 4,600 sets to distribute.
The coupons are good until October 31st in both Wood and Lucas Counties.