Strengthening Food Security

MFAN Leads Letter of Support for WIC Modernization

May 30, 2023

With input from the MSO/VSO community and our greater partner network, MFAN authored a letter to the United States Department of Agriculture Food & Nutrition Service supporting USDA proposals to streamline and modernize the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The proposals include online ordering, food delivery revisions, dedicated staffing, and easing of administrative burdens — among other measures.


In the letter, we share collective insights and observations that add validity to modernization efforts, like how these rule changes will better meet the needs of a modern, data-driven program and help facilitate WIC participation among qualifying military families.


The full letter text can be found below and here.


May 24, 2023


Patricia Bailey                                                                                                  

Chief, WIC Vendor and Technology Branch

Policy Division, Supplemental Nutrition and Safety Programs

Food and Nutrition Service, USDA


Dear Ms. Bailey,


The undersigned organizations are committed to supporting the health and well-being of military families by working to end military hunger and ensuring access to support programs and resources. We support the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s mission to increase food security and reduce hunger by providing children and low-income people access to food, a healthy diet, and nutrition education through participation in the WIC program.


In 2022, a Department of Defense study reported that 24% of active duty service members are experiencing food insecurity. When asked where military families turn when they need food support, again and again, they tell us they rely on friends and family or community food pantries. Barriers to access, such as difficulty accessing WIC clinics to receive benefits and the shame and stigma associated with using support programs in the military community, have led to an underutilization of WIC. 


We share the following for consideration regarding online ordering and transactions and food delivery revisions to better meet the needs of a modern, data-driven program and to help facilitate participation in the WIC program by qualifying military families:


  • Remove Barriers to Online Ordering and Internet-Based Transactions: Like their civilian counterparts, military families value the convenience of ordering online and having pick-up and delivery grocery options. As more and more vendors—including the Commissary—move towards providing online shopping options, it is important to ensure the dignity and equity of WIC participants by allowing them to utilize these services.
  • Streamline and Modernize WIC Food Delivery: One of the challenges military families face when utilizing their WIC benefits is the requirement that they travel to the WIC office monthly to renew their benefits. We can alleviate transportation and childcare issues that create access barriers by allowing participants to renew their benefits online. Additionally, allowing state agencies to develop the capability to adopt new technologies beyond the EBT card further supports efforts to uphold the dignity of WIC clients and ensures equitable access.
  • Meet the Needs of a Modern, Data-Driven Program: To ensure the successful implementation of these program enhancements, WIC offices will need additional staff to support the technical and customer support requirements of all WIC participants. We strongly encourage the consideration of military spouses to fulfill these roles, as they bring unique lived experiences and insight to the successful implementation of these rules.

Successful implementation of these proposed rule changes will modernize the WIC program and ensure equitable access to healthy, nutritious foods. We appreciate the opportunity to provide comments and highlight how these rule changes will support the military community.




Air Force Sergeants Association

American Logistics Association

Armed Services YMCA

Blue Star Families

Elizabeth Dole Foundation

Hope For The Warriors

Lauren Hope Collective

MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger

Military Family Advisory Network

Military Resale Small Business Coalition

Military Spouse Advocacy Network

Modern Military Association of America

National Military Family Association

Stronghold Food Pantry

UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center


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