At a virtual awards ceremony Tuesday morning, the Northeast Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) announced its USDA Breastfeeding Award of Excellence winners. Almost 100 awards were given across the country, including a Gold Award to the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center. A major goal of WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) is to improve the health of babies and mothers through breastfeeding.
“The awards program was established to recognize local WIC agencies that have provided exemplary breastfeeding promotion and activities,” the USDA’s FNS Lizbeth Silbermann explained. “The intent is to provide models and motivate other local agencies to strengthen their breastfeeding promotion and support activities and ultimately increase breastfeeding initiation and duration rates among WIC participants.”
“The WIC staff work as a team to promote and support breastfeeding as the preferred method of infant feeding,” WIC Program Director at Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center, Norma Robinson said. “The Breastfeeding Peer Counselors respond promptly to challenges and make the appropriate referrals leading to successful outcomes.”
August is Breastfeeding Month with celebrations highlighting the importance of breastfeeding as the best source of nutrition for a baby’s first year of life. WIC serves about half of all babies born in the U.S. and is uniquely positioned to help moms successfully breastfeed, USDA officials said. The Breastfeeding Award of Excellence is intended to both raise awareness of the long and short-term benefits of breastfeeding and to honor those who are helping to make those efforts successful.
WIC serves to safeguard the health of low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating including breastfeeding promotion and support, and referrals to health care. More information about the WIC Program can be found on our WIC page.