Remembering Sharen Anthony’s Legacy

This year’s theme for Women’s History Month is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories”. In honor of this theme, we are highlighting Sharen Anthony, a friend, colleague, advocate, and public health champion who recently passed away in February of this year.

Sharen Anthony worked with the Public Health Foundation Enterprises Women, Infants, and Children (PHFE WIC) Program for over 31 years. During her tenure at PHFE WIC, she was a WIC site supervisor, a WIC program senior manager, project coordinator, leader on the PHFE WIC Council on Racial Equity, and a WIC representative to many Los Angeles County health and nutrition programs.

She was not only a support for other organizations but a true cheerleader for everyone.

In the early 90s, Sharen conceptualized the extremely successful WIC Empowers Teens program aimed at combating the huge teen pregnancy problem. She selected, trained, and motivated 40 Teen Facilitators, all WIC staff and many of whom had been teen moms themselves.

She was passionate about prevention and a key trainer who took the Beyond 9 CA State-funded Preconception Health Care training program on the road to nearly every WIC program in the state.

In 2006, Sharen spearheaded and later became coordinator of the Health is Wealth PHFE WIC
Employee Wellness Program for more than 500 employees. She recruited a committee and
continued to magnificently lead the employee wellness promotion activities throughout these
past 17 years.

The PHFEWIC Health is Wealth Program served as a model for the California WIC Association’s (CWA’s) WIC Worksite Wellness Program. Sharen served in an advisory capacity for the California WIC Association (CWA) WIC Worksite Wellness Program and was instrumental in establishing PHFE WIC as one of the pioneering WIC Worksite Wellness Certified Programs.

Sharen had a heart for her community as she shared her expertise through her studies in receiving her Master’s degree in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling (MFCC). She provided internal training and specialized assistance in challenging situations such as child abuse, domestic violence, and homelessness.

In the recent past, Sharen was a liaison with the Los Angeles County (LAC) Nurse Family

She also participated in many local initiatives such as:

  • LAC Department of Public Health Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Project,
  • LAC Healthy Weight for Women of Reproductive Age Learning Collaborative
  • LAC African American Infant and Maternal Mortality Prevention Initiative
  • LAC Perinatal and Early Childhood Home Visitation Consortium
  • Served as a co-chair of the Los Angeles Adolescent Health Collaborative Steering Committee

Sharen participated in numerous workgroups and roundtables focused on teens:

  • InterAgency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect’s (ICAN’s) Task Force on Pregnant and Parenting Adolescents
  • The Community Network Council
  • The Orange County Teen Collaborative Network

Sharen had unique talents to engage, teach and train. She was a certified True Colors trainer and trained all staff including every newly hired PHFE WIC employee on True Colors encouraging strong team dynamics, honoring individual strengths, and building cohesiveness.

Her early interactions with new employees made for the perfect welcome during the onboarding stage. In addition and more recently, Sharen was pursuing a guaranteed basic income pilot to further support African-American and Black pregnant WIC mothers, actively worked on advancing health and racial equity, and boosted employee engagement activities.

Her compassion, kindness, fun-loving spirit, and commitment extended to every individual and part of the WIC Program from WIC families and participants, within PHFE WIC, across many, many California local agency WIC programs, and the California Department of Public Health WIC Division.

She will forever be missed and we here at PHFE WIC and CinnaMoms will continue the hard work and foundation she created.

#womenshistorymonth #phfewic #sharenanthony

Renew Your Medi-Cal to Stay Covered

If you or your family have been receiving Medi-Cal during the COVID-19 public health emergency, you have stayed enrolled in the program. Starting April 1, 2023, California will start renewing Medi-Cal accounts for eligibility.

Take action today to keep Medi-Cal.

STEP 1: Log into your Medi-Cal account to confirm or update your address, phone number, and email address. If your information is not up-to-date your Medi-Cal coverage may end.

STEP 2: Sign up for Medi-Cal emails and text messages.

STEP 3: Check your mailbox for a yellow envelope about your Medi-Cal eligibility. You will receive a letter in the mail about your renewal status. If you get a renewal form in the mail, submit your information right away by mail, phone, in-person, or online.

  • You have moved within the last two years,
  • Your household size or income has changed, or
  • Your phone number, email, or mailing address has changed.

Your Medi-Cal health care coverage may end if your contact information is not up-to-date.

No, receiving Medi-Cal is not required to get WIC benefits. If you are pregnant or your child is younger than 5 and gets Medi-Cal, you automatically qualify for WIC benefits and it may expedite the enrollment process. However, if you or your child are not receiving Medi-Cal we will check your income to verify your eligibility for WIC.

ALL IN for Health
Find information about health-related resources and services available in California.

BAILA Network
Find benefits such as health care and food assistance programs that you and/or your family qualify for.

Health Consumer Alliance
Get help keeping your Medi-Cal coverage after the COVID-19 emergency ends. 

Speak Up When You’re Down

Depression or anxiety after pregnancy and in the first year postpartum is very common. Changes to your body, less sleep, and worries about caring for your newborn can make you feel a mix of emotions which is normal. One in five women will experience symptoms after pregnancy, and it can happen to anyone.

Help is Here

Call the PSI Helpline: (800) 944-4773
Text “Help” to (800) 944-4773

*The PSI HelpLine does not handle emergencies. People in crisis should call their local emergency number or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at (800) 273-TALK (8255).

Six things everyone should know about perinatal depression

It is, in fact, the number one complication of pregnancy. In the US, 15% to 20% of new moms, or about one million women each year experience perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and some studies suggest that number may be even higher. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Perinatal depression can affect any woman regardless of age, income, culture or education.

  • Feelings of sadness
  • Mood swings: highs and lows, feeling overwhelmed
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lack of interest in things you used to enjoy
  • Changes in sleeping and eating habits
  • Panic attacks, nervousness, and anxiety
  • Excessive worry about your baby
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
  • Fearing that you can't take care of your baby
  • Feelings of guilt and inadequacy
  • Difficulty accepting motherhood
  • Irrational thinking; seeing or hearing things that are not there

Some of the ways women describe their feelings include:

  • I want to cry all the time.
  • I feel like I’m on an emotional roller coaster.
  • I will never feel like myself again.
  • I don’t think my baby likes me.
  • Everything feels like an effort.

Baby blues, a normal adjustment period after birth, usually lasts from 2 to 3 weeks. If you have any of the listed symptoms, they have stayed the same or gotten worse, and you’re 5 to 6 weeks postpartum, then you are no longer experiencing baby blues, and may have a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder.

You are not a weak or bad person. You have a common, treatable illness. Research shows there are a variety of risk factors that may impact how you are feeling, including your medical history, how your body processes certain hormones, the level of stress you are experiencing, and how much help you have with your baby. What we do know is, this is not your fault.

Recent studies show that your baby’s well-being and development are directly tied to your physical and emotional health. You deserve to be healthy, and your baby needs a healthy mom in order to thrive.  Don’t wait to reach out for HELP. It is available.

There comes a time in every woman’s life when she needs help. NOW is the time to reach out to a caring professional, who is knowledgeable about perinatal depression, and who can help you through this time of crisis.  He or she can understand the pain you are experiencing and guide you on the road to recovery.  

Contact Postpartum Support International, (800) 944-4773 or, for referrals and support near you.


For referrals and resources, call 211 or (800) 944-4773 |
or contact your healthcare provider

Adapted from Speak Up When You’re Down

Register for WIC’s Webinar on March 15!

By the end of March, millions of Californians will lose the enhanced CalFresh benefits – the CalFresh Cliff. The funds were added during the COVID pandemic to help families buy groceries, and this loss now comes as food prices are quickly rising due to inflation.

Learn how to take action to help families with children under five by immediately connecting them to WIC. The current value of the child WIC food package is approximately $75, and WIC foods are inflation-proof! Attend the webinar and get your questions answered.

Join WIC, Health Net, and L.A. Care Health Plan for a live webinar,
“Hunger will Spike in 2023: Buffer the CalFresh Benefits Cliff with WIC”

Wednesday, March 15, 2023
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Questions? Email

  • Clinicians (i.e.: MDs, PCPs, OBGYNs, NPs, RNs, MAs)
  • Case Managers, Social Workers, Community Health Works/Promotores de Salud
  • Front and back-office staff
Blanca Vargas, MPA, RDN

Senior Manager of Operations, PHFE WIC, A Program of Heluna Health

Jared Call

Senior Advocate, Nourish California

Kiran Saluja, MPH, RDN

Executive Director, PHFE WIC, A Program of Heluna Health

Tax Credits for Parents Do NOT Affect WIC Benefits

Families may qualify for cash-back tax credits worth hundreds or thousands of dollars from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit (CTC), California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC), and Young Child Tax Credit (YCTC) when they file their taxes. Even if you don’t normally file taxes or have low to no income, you may still qualify. Tax credits do not affect your WIC benefits.

What if I need help filing my taxes?

You may be able to get free tax help through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. VITA is available for low-income households, people with disabilities, and taxpayers who speak limited English.

Which tax credits am I eligible for?

See the basic eligibility requirements for each tax credit below. For federal taxes, no additional form is needed to claim these credits. When filing for state taxes, families will need to fill out the California Earned Income Tax Credit Form 3514.

  • You’re between the ages of 25 and 65
  • You have worked and earned income under $57,414
  • You must have a valid Social Security Number
  • You’re a U.S. citizen or resident alien all year
  • Child must be under the age of 17
  • Qualifying child can be a son, daughter, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or their descendent
  • You’re at least 18 years old or have a qualifying child
  • You make $30,000 or less
  • You have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or a Social Security Number
  • You’re at least 18 years old or have a qualifying child
  • You make $30,000 or less
  • You have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or a Social Security Number
  • You have a child under the age of six
  • FAQs

    The amount you get depends on your household status, income and family size. For federal taxes, no additional form is needed. When filing for state taxes, you must also fill out the California Earned Income Tax Credit Form 3514.

    Californians who file their taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), including undocumented Californians, can qualify for the CalEITC and YCTC. Individuals with ITINs are not eligible for federal tax credits. 

    Even if you are not required to file your taxes, you may still benefit from these tax credits, but you will need to file your taxes.

    No. Claiming tax credits will not affect the income you claim to receive public benefits. Tax credits are not considered public benefits under the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services public charge rule.

    WIC and CalFresh EBT are Better Together

    By March 2023, millions of California families will experience a sudden decrease in CalFresh (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP) benefits – the CalFresh Cliff. The emergency funds were previously added by the federal government in 2020 to help families buy groceries during the pandemic, and those additional funds are ending.

    On average, families could see a decrease of $82 in monthly benefits, and one-person households could see a loss as high as $258 each month. With the rising cost of food, families are not able to shop for as many groceries with the new amounts they will receive.

    CalFresh Families Can Apply for WIC

    CalFresh participants who are pregnant or have a child under five qualify for WIC and should participate in both programs. The WIC program does not affect immigration status, show up on credit reports or background checks, and will not hurt employment opportunities.

    Signing up for WIC is easy! Appointments are available by phone or in-person at a WIC office. Apply online, call (888) 942-2229 or text APPLY to 91997 to get started.

    Shopping for WIC foods is convenient. Families enrolled in WIC can shop for benefits the day they get the WIC card. Benefits are added onto an electronic card each month and viewable through the California WIC App.

    WIC food benefits are reliable. Rising grocery prices do not affect WIC benefits. Even if grocery prices go up, you still get the same amount of healthy foods from WIC each month.

    Find Food Assistance Programs

    Use the resources below to find additional food assistance programs near you. Families enrolled in WIC can apply for other food assistance programs and should not include their participation in WIC as part of their income. For families who do not qualify for WIC, you may be eligible for a different program below. If your income or family size changes, call or text us to reapply!

    211 Food Finder
    Find local groceries, food pantries, food benefit programs, farmers markets, child/youth nutrition, senior food needs, and meals.  

    CalFresh, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), provides monthly food benefits to low-income individuals and families.

    Comprehensive Housing Information & Referrals for People (CHIRP) Food Bank Guide
    A list of over 120 food banks throughout Los Angeles county.

    Department of Public Social Services (DPSS)
    Find various food benefit programs and other ways to access food benefits.

    Food Oasis Los Angeles
    Find food pantries and meal programs in Los Angeles. Search by address or zip code to find free food nearest you.

    Los Angeles Regional Food Bank Finder
    Los Angeles Regional Food Bank distributes food and other essentials to children, seniors, families, and individuals in need. Find your local food pantry.

    USDA Summer Meals for Kids
    Children up to age 18 who receive free or reduced-price meals school meals can get the nutrition they need when schools are closed. Find nearby meal sites during the summer months. 

    211 Orange County
    Find local food banks, meal delivery programs, and food assistance programs in Orange County.

    CalFresh, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), provides monthly food benefits to low-income individuals and families.

    Orange County Free Food Map
    A list of local soup kitchens, food pantries, free meals, and more. Search by City or Zip Code to find free food nearest you.

    Project Food Box
    Medi-Cal members in Orange County with a qualifying health condition may be eligible for a free grocery box delivery.

    USDA Summer Meals for Kids
    Children up to age 18 who receive free or reduced-price meals school meals can get the nutrition they need when schools are closed. Find nearby meal sites during the summer months. 

    988 Crisis & Support Lifeline Available 24/7

    988 provides 24/7 free and confidential support connection if you or someone you know is:

    • having thoughts of suicide.
    • experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis.
    • or any other kind of emotional distress including but not limited to,
      • substance abuse
      • economic worries
      • relationships
      • sexual identity
      • getting over abuse
      • loneliness

    Just call or text 988 or chat, and a trained counselor will listen, support, and share resources if needed. Options for the deaf and hard of hearing are available too!

    You are not alone. There is Hope!

    For additional referrals and resources, visit or