By Nyesha Stone
Ascension St. Joseph’s has been a pillar in the city for years, and according to Mayor Tom Barrett, it also services the largest population of Milwaukee residents on Medicaid. St. Joseph’s goal is to be the one-stop-shop hospital; recently it cut the ribbon on the new Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) office, which resides in inside the building.
This effort was made possible through a partnership with the City of Milwaukee Heath Department and will be housed in St. Joseph’s Women Outpatient Center.
“I’m a longtime fan of St. Joe’s,” said Mayor Tom Barrett who’s three daughters were born in the hospital.
WIC now resides in a “neighborhood where we need it the most,” he added.
Most mothers who visit St. Joe’s qualify for WIC but have yet to apply. Thanks to WIC, many low-income minority mothers are receiving benefits to help them provide for their children.
According to WIC’s site: “(WIC) provides Federal grants to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.”
Milwaukee Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik and Alderman Khalif Rainey gave a few words about this momentous accomplishment for the city.
As a prior WIC recipient, Kowalik understands the need for such a program, specifically in the Black community where a lot of infants are dying due to lack of nutrition and resources.
“I know the power of WIC,” said Kowalik, she added that the use of WIC has gone down nationally. She said the health department is paying attention to this and is expecting the WIC office to be successful.
Rainey felt it was only right to bring his daughter to emphasize the importance of the office and what it can do for our future generation. He stated the day of the ribbon cutting, on April 8, is symbolic of the commitment St. Joseph’s has made to the community.
“The people in the surrounding neighborhoods will appreciate it,” Rainey said about the new WIC office.
Although many people downplay WIC, it’s a huge part of why so many of us in the Black community are here today.
To find out more about WIC, visit https://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/women-infants-and-children-wic.