Closed Thursday, November 24 & Friday, November 25

PHFE WIC will be closed closed on the following days as our colleagues spend time with family and friends:

– Thursday, November 24
– Friday, November 25

– Saturday, November 26
– Sunday, November 27

We will resume WIC services on Monday, November 28 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For questions, please call (888) 942-2229 or text us at 91997, and we will respond to you as soon as possible.

Thank you for being a part of our WIC family, and we appreciate you.
From all of us at PHFE WIC, Happy Thanksgiving!

WIC Foods Are Getting Better – Show Your Support

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is proposing to change the WIC food package for the first time in over ten years. Some changes proposed include the following:

  • keep the increased fruit and vegetable benefit,
  • offer more options for whole grains,
  • add seafood to children, pregnant and postpartum packages,
  • and offer more substitutions for all food packages.

The new changes would also allow families to shop for different sizes for all food categories (except infant formula).

How could the food package change?

  • The increased fruits and vegetables benefit that families are receiving would be permanent.
  • Families could purchase fresh herbs such as cilantro or parsley with their fruit and vegetable benefit.
  • Participants could choose less juice and more fruits and vegetable benefits.
  • WIC stores would be required to have at least three different forms of vegetables.
  • Seafood would be added to children over two, pregnant, and postpartum food packages.
  • Canned legumes would be an added option.
  • Eggs could be exchanged for legumes, peanut butter, or tofu.
  • Cultural options, including quinoa, wild rice, teff, buckwheat, corn meal, triticale, millet, amaranth, kamut, sorghum, wheat berries, tortillas with folic acid-fortified corn masa flour, whole wheat pita, English muffins, bagels, and naan would be added.
  • The amount whole grains pregnant and postpartum parents receive would increase.
  • Stronger cereal standards that add more whole grains and limit added sugars.
  • Families have more flexibility when shopping for yogurt, tofu, cheese, or milk benefits.
  • Soy based yogurts and cheeses would be allowed.
  • Parents could exchange half or all of their jarred infant fruits and vegetables for more fresh fruits and vegetables benefit.
  • Infant cereal and jarred infant food amounts would be reduced to meet the current dietary guidelines.
  • Formula could be issued in customized amounts to help support breastfeeding parents meet their goals.

When would changes to the WIC food package happen?

WIC food package changes would not happen immediately. The commenting period for USDA’s proposed WIC food package rule is now open until February 21, 2023. After the commenting period, USDA will review all comments before making a final ruling. We could see changes to the WIC food package as soon as 2024.

A message to WIC participants & community partners

Comment on USDA’s proposed WIC food package rule to show your support for these changes.

The commenting period is now open through February 21, 2023.

Finding Infant Formula: What You Need to Know

On October 14, 2022, Abbott issued a voluntary proactive recall for some 2 fluid oz Ready-to-Feed formulas. Read more about the most recent recall here.

What’s Going On?

The impacts of the ongoing pandemic, and the 2022 recall of certain powdered infant formula have led to periodic shortages and low stock of major brands of formula in stores. The USDA and California Department of Public Health WIC have added additional options and implemented flexibilities to help connect WIC families with formula. In this article, you will find resources to help you make informed decisions during this difficult time.

Where can I find infant formula for my baby?

Before you shop, download the CA WIC App to find grocers near you that accept WIC. If you do not have access to the WIC app, you can also find a list of WIC authorized grocers on the California Department of Public Health website.

Other things you can do:

  • Call the grocery store before you go to ask if they have infant formula in stock and when they expect their next shipment.
  • For Enfamil formula, try shopping at a large chain grocery store. Smaller “WIC only” stores are less likely to have Enfamil Infant, Enfamil Gentlease, Enfamil AR, and Enfamil Reguline in stock.
  • Use the Walmart Baby Formula Availability Webpage to find available formula options at any Walmart store or online.   
  • Try another brand of formula if it’s available. Click on the formula icon in your food balance to see other options you can purchase with your WIC benefits. Babies can usually tolerate other formulas well unless your baby is drinking a special therapeutic formula. In those cases, we recommend consulting with your baby’s healthcare provider.
  • If you’re receiving a special formula from WIC or your baby’s health insurance and cannot find your formula at any stores, please contact your local WIC office. Your doctor may prescribe another formula that will work well for your baby.
  • If you cannot find baby formula at any store, try calling your baby’s doctor to see if they have in-office samples available.     
  • Check your Food Balance on the California WIC app to confirm the type of formula you can buy. Click the formula icon on your Food Balance to see the full list for formulas available to you, or scan the formula with the WIC app to confirm it’s the correct item before checking out.

What Additional Formulas Can I Buy?

California WIC temporarily added more container sizes and brands to help you find formula for your baby during this shortage. If your CA WIC benefits show one of the categories below, you can temporarily buy any formulas on that category’s list. Please check this list regularly before you shop. These temporary options may change each month.

Many of these lists include imported formulas. Learn how to safely prepare imported formula.

If you have any questions about your CA WIC benefits, text 91997 to talk to a WIC counselor.

If you have trouble purchasing a formula, call 1-800-852-5770 to report the problem and resolve it as soon as possible.

*Important Information for CA WIC Vendors.

Can I make Baby formula at home?

Do not make your own baby formula at home.

Infant formula is the primary nutritional source for formula-fed infants from birth to 6 months of age or until they start solid foods. Even after starting solids, infants still rely on formula to meet their nutritional needs. The FDA strictly regulates the production of infant formulas. There are requirements for certain nutrients in infant formulas that may not be present in homemade formulas for healthy infant growth and development.

The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly warns against homemade infant formulas. Even a few weeks of poor nutrition can lead to lifelong impacts on development and even result in infant death. In addition, there have been reports of hospitalization of infants suffering hypocalcemia (low calcium) after being fed homemade formula. Some symptoms of hypocalcemia include irritability, muscle twitches, tremors, and seizures.

Do not dilute baby formula. It is strongly advised not to water down infant formula to make it last longer. While it might seem harmless, watered-down formula can lead to infant water intoxication. Some signs of water intoxication include nausea, vomiting, irregular breathing, and weakness. Adding extra water will also diminish the nutritional value of the formula. Find more information on proper infant formula preparation here.

What Are Counterfeit Formulas?

Counterfeit formulas are infant formulas that have been repackaged with a fake label. These could be formulas that have been repackaged with a new expiration date or a completely different formula with unknown ingredients. This can be very dangerous, especially to infants who drink specialty formulas due to allergies or intolerances. To protect infants from counterfeit formulas do not shop from unknown retailers or outside of the U.S. Always lookout for changes in the taste and color of your baby’s formula. If buying by case make sure the lot numbers and the “use by” date on the containers and boxes are the same. Call the manufacturer’s toll-free number with any concerns or questions.

My baby is not here yet, how can I prepare?

Breastfeeding provides added immunity and is the optimal nutrition for healthy development. If you are expecting your baby and considering your feeding options, know that CA WIC has many resources available to help you reach your goal, including one-on-one support from certified lactation educators, breastfeeding support groups, infant feeding helpline, virtual group classes, free lactation consultation appointments, and an electronic breast pump loan program. Breastfeeding parents receive more monthly foods in their WIC Food Package, and are eligible to continue receiving WIC food benefits until their baby’s 1st birthday.

Four Farmers Markets in LA Accept the WIC Card

Families can now use their WIC Card at four local farmers markets in LA County! Shop for fresh produce at Culver City Farmers Market, La Cienega Farmers Market, Echo Park Farmers Market, and Crenshaw Farmers Market.

Culver City and La Cienega Farmers Market

How to use your WIC Card:

  1. Go to the info booth to swipe your WIC card for the amount you want to spend
  2. Get paper scrips for the amount you asked to use
  3. Shop for fruits and vegetables from the vendors – all scrips must be used same day!

$20 Bonus

Spend at least $20 of your fruit and vegetable benefit to receive an additional $20 while supplies last.

Echo Park and Crenshaw Farmers Markets

How to use your WIC Card:

  1. Visit the info booth to find out which vendors accept WIC cards
  2. Spend your benefits with those vendors

$10 Bonus

Bring your receipt back to the info booth to get an extra $10 to purchase fresh fruits and veggies while supplies last.

The WIC card and scrips can be used to shop for fruits and vegetables. They cannot be used to buy other WIC foods such as eggs or bread. Go to the info booth to swipe your WIC card and receive paper scrips you can use to shop at the farmers market. 

No! For Culver City Farmers Market and La Cienega Farmers Market, all scrips must be spent the same day they are given. Once you swipe your card for the amount you would like to use, it cannot be added back to your WIC card. 

The WIC Card is currently accepted at Culver City, La Cienega, Echo Park, and Crenshaw Farmers Markets only. You will not be able to shop at a different market in Los Angeles County using your WIC Card. 

Closed Veterans Day, Friday Nov. 11

In observance of Veterans Day, WIC will be closed on Friday, November 11. We will resume WIC services on Monday, November 14 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

We are proud to support our Veteran families and staff, and we thank you for your service.

For questions, please call (888) 942-2229 or text us at 91997, and we will respond to you as soon as possible.

-PHFE WIC

WIC Supports Parents Who Chestfeed

WIC is here for parents through every step of their infant feeding journey to educate, empower, and encourage parents to reach their feeding goals.

What is Chestfeeding?

Chestfeeding is when a child is fed human milk from a parent’s chest. It is a term used by many transgender and nonbinary parents who may not identify with the words breastfeeding or nursing. People who identify as female may also prefer the term chestfeeding.

What is the difference between Chestfeeding and Breastfeeding?

Physically, chestfeeding and breastfeeding are exactly the same. Lactating parents can choose the term they are most comfortable with.

How does WIC support people who chestfeed?

  • Chestfeeding parents qualify for WIC for up to one year after giving birth.
  • WIC educates, empowers, and encourages parents to reach their feeding goals.
  • Parents are asked how they identify their gender during enrollment.
  • Support groups are available for parents to connect with each other and share their experiences.
  • Certified Lactation Educators and Lactation Consultants are available to answer feeding questions.
  • Electric and manual pumps are provided to those who qualify and need help to reach their feeding goals.

WIC is committed to being part of parents’ support systems by providing free phone, video, and in-person services. Contact your local WIC office or text us at 91997.

WIC Families Received Over $590,000 of Produce this Farmers Market Season!

The 2022 WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program wrapped up on August 13 after another successful year! Congress began the program in 1992 with funding from the United States Department of Agriculture to bring more fresh fruits and vegetables to WIC families while familiarizing them with farmers markets and supporting the local community. 

PHFE WIC distributed farmers market checks to more than 19,000 families, totaling more than $590,000 worth of fruits and vegetables, this summer!

Thank you to all of our community partners for spreading the word, and to farmers market managers, staff, and vendors for their support to help make this a successful season.
  • Adams & Vermont Farmers Market
  • Cerritos Farmers Market
  • Crenshaw Farmers Market
  • East Hollywood Farmers Market
  • East Los Angeles Farmers Market
  • Echo Park Farmers Market
  • Fullerton Farmers Market
  • La Cienega Farmers Market
  • Monterey Park Farmers Market
  • Pomona Valley Farmers Market
  • Rosemead Farmers Market
  • Tustin Farmers Market
  • West Covina Farmers Market
  • Wilmington Farmers Market

The WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program runs for a limited time each year, and next season starts summer 2023! To make sure you don’t miss out on your free produce, sign up for WIC text messages (send a text with your name and date of birth to 91997) and follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

It Pays to File Your Taxes by November 15!

The new Child Tax Credit and other benefits are bigger than ever.

File your taxes for FREE on or before November 15 and claim the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and the California Earned Income Tax Credit to get more money for groceries, gas, childcare, and more.

More people than ever before qualify for significant new tax benefits this year through the American Rescue Plan. You may qualify for an income boost of up to $6,600 if you are raising children in your home. This money is not a loan.  People ages 19-24 and 65 and older who work are newly eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit even if they don’t have kids or don’t usually file taxes. The Child Tax Credit payments do not impact CalWORKs, Medi-Cal, or WIC benefits.

A child born or added to your family, such as adoption, in 2021 could qualify for the full amount of the 2021 Child Tax Credit. Visit ChildTaxCredit.gov

There’s still time! File your taxes to claim your credit, even if you do not normally file taxes. If you received Advance Child Tax Credit payments in 2021, you need to file taxes this year to receive the second half of your money. If you have not received any Child Tax Credit payments, you can file simplified taxes now to get the whole credit. Don’t miss out! Visit GetYourRefund.org to find out more about how to get this tax credit. 

Need help? Call the National Tax Help Hotline at 1-877-907-0937 Monday-Friday, 6 am to 2 pm PST.

Free Tax prep Los Angeles VITA Volunteer Income Tax Assistance
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program can help you file your taxes for free! Click here for VITA locations in Los Angeles county.