Announcing the Vermont WIC Shopper App

A quick barcode scan identifies Vermont WIC Approved Foods!

To make it easier for WIC shoppers to identify approved products in the store, Vermont wicshopperWIC has subscribed to the WIC Shopper App. An added bonus is that WIC grocers can use it too!

Download the FREE app from the App Store or Google Play. Select “Vermont” as the WIC provider. You can either scan a barcode (using the device camera) or key enter a barcode. Almost immediately a screen message will display if the item is Vermont WIC eligible or  not. If an item is allowed, similar approved items are also displayed by name and bar code. If an item is not allowed, the display will so indicate. Here are screen-captures of both types of displays:

Screenshot_2015-09-01-14-29-32Screenshot_2015-09-01-14-28-47

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please note the following limitations:

  1. The WICShopper app currently will only identify if a food is WIC-approved. It does not tell a WIC family whether that food is in the family’s assigned food package. The WIC participant needs a printed Family Food List to see which foods to shop for. (Can be printed by balance inquiry using POS/card reader.)
  2. The WICShopper app does NOT work for any FRESH fruits and vegetables. This is because Vermont WIC does not maintain those UPCs and PLUs in our database. Consult the WIC Program and Food Guide for fresh produce eligibility. Basically, with some restrictions: Any variety of fresh, organic or non-organic, fruits and vegetables, including fresh potatoes, are allowed. They may be whole, cut, bagged, or packaged.

Please share this information with your store personnel. When eWIC rolls out statewide, this app will be a handy way to quickly assist WIC shoppers with food eligibility questions.

Questions or problems with the app? Contact wic@vermont.gov

 

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Vermont WIC releases eWIC Shopper Video

Do you have three minutes to learn about eWIC in Vermont? The new Vermont WIC video youtube“Shopping with WIC is Fun!” is available on YouTube. It’s a quick and entertaining introduction to how families will use their Vermont WIC cards in authorized stores. It’s a great orientation for all grocer staff: managers, supervisors, and cashiers. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2y11Q-CnKPg&feature=youtu.be

With approval expected from FNS, Vermont WIC will move from pilot to rollout starting in Bennington and Springfield regions in October 2015.  To learn more, visit the EBT Project website: http://healthvermont.gov/wic/MISEBT_Project.aspx

There is also a page specifically for eWIC grocers, containing links to the Approved Products List and Minimum Inventory Requirements.
http://healthvermont.gov/wic/eWICGrocers.aspx

Questions? Send them to:  wic@vermont.gov

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Minutes of July quarterly Retailer Advisory Council meeting

Follow this link for the minutes. Use the directory in the right-hand column for earlier minutes.

Thanks for your interest and support of WIC in Vermont.

https://vermontwicebt.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/vermont-wic-retail-vendor-july-2015-quarterly-meeting.pdf

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Quarterly Retail Advisory Council Meeting Thurs, July 9th

Hello! It’s time for the quarterly VT WIC Retailer Advisory Council conference call:

cell_phone_with_sound_coming_from_the_speaker_0515-0909-2814-1544_TN

July 9, 2015
12:30pm – 1:30pm

Call in: 1-877-273-4202
 Conf. Rm. ID  – 520 96 20 #

 

AGENDA

  • Call to Order and Welcome – Patrick Henry, VT WIC
  • Project Status – Patrick Henry, VT WIC
    • Pilot started June 1 in Rutland
    • Pilot continues through September 2015
    • Rollout to other Districts begins October with Bennington, then Springfield
  • Retailer eWIC Integration/Certification Updates – Sylvia Mitchem, Xerox (eWIC Contractor)
  • Criteria for Selection of Approved WIC Foods – Karen Flynn, VT WIC
  • Questions and next meeting – Patrick Henry, VT WIC

As always, we invite all our retail partners and store personnel to listen in, ask questions, and stay informed about our  eWIC implementation. Minutes of the meeting will be sent out shortly afterwards.

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White Potatoes WIC-eligible in Vermont Starting July 1

As mentioned in a prior posting,  USDA-FNS has authorized the addition of FRESH white potatoes to WIC authorized food lists.  Vermont WIC will add FRESH white potatoes to our authorized foods list effective July 1, 2015.

This means that all fresh potatoes — be they white, yellow, blue, purple, sweet, or yam — potatoeswill be eligible purchases by WIC families in Vermont WIC authorized grocery stores.

However, any type of frozen or canned potatoes are still not authorized for WIC.

If you use our Vermont WIC Cashier Cards at your check-out lanes, it’s easy to modify them for this change. Shift/Click HERE to see a “before and after” picture of how the cards should be modified to reflect the addition of fresh white potatoes as approved foods. It’s a simple stroke with a Sharpie to make the change…

Also, please be sure to start training your cashiers and other front-end staff to be ready for this upcoming change.

Questions? Email jkeller@keller-fuller.com.

Do you need replacement Cashier Cards? Email patrick.henry@state.vt.us.

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USDA-FNS Gives Vermont WIC “Go To Pilot” Approval

VT WIC Card

The new Vermont WIC card

Vermont WIC is proud and excited to announce that USDA-Food and Nutrition Service has given us “Go to Pilot” approval for our migration from 35-year old computer mainframe-based record-keeping to a new “paperless” WIC management information system, and our migration from home delivery of WIC foods to a retail grocery store EBT, or “eWIC” system.

The pilot of both systems will take place in the Rutland District Office of the Vermont Department of Health, with the support of retail grocers in that region. Pilot will kick off the first week in June, with training of local WIC staff on eWIC and the new WIC management information system, dubbed “Ceres,” after the goddess of agriculture and maternal love. (She’s the golden statue on top of Vermont’s State House.)

Vermont WIC cards will be issued to new families certified by the Rutland District Office in June, and mailed to existing Rutland area WIC families for use starting July 1.

Retailers have also been busy preparing. New agreements between WIC and the retailers needed to be executed; site visits were necessary to confirm the necessary inventory of WIC foods are stocked; WIC needs to confirm that the store is ready for the WIC families’ eWIC cards. All of this will also be completed by the end of May.

Stores in the Rutland region participating in our pilot will include:

Chains:

  • Hannaford
  • Price Chopper
  • Shaws
  • Tops

Independents:

  • Kamuda’s
  • Prunier’s
  • G&L
  • Tenneybrook
  • Benson General Store

Rollout to other regions of the state should begin in October this year, starting with Bennington and Springfield.

Vermont WIC has also produced an engaging video for WIC participants about shopping with the WIC card, which might also be of interest to retailers and their staff. You can watch the video on the Vermont WIC website:
http://healthvermont.gov/wic/shop_eWIC.aspx

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Minutes of April 2015 Retail Advisory Council are posted

Click on this link to read the minutes of the April 9th 2015 meeting.notes

Minutes 2015-04-09

Questions? Email wic@state.vt.us

 

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Quarterly Retail Advisory Council Meeting Thurs, April 9th

Hello and Happy Spring (finally!). It’s time for the quarterly VT WIC Retailer Advisory Council conference call:crocus

April 9, 2015
12:30pm – 1:30pm

Call in: 1-877-273-4202
 Conf. Rm. ID # 5209620

 

AGENDA

  • Call to Order and Welcome – Patrick Henry, VT WIC
  • Project Status – Patrick Henry, VT WIC
    • Pilot starts June 1 in Rutland
    • Pilot continues through September 2015
    • Rollout to other Districts begins October with Bennington, then Springfield
  • Retailer eWIC Integration/Certification Updates – Sylvia Mitchem, Xerox (eWIC Contractor)
  • Vendor Authorization – Patrick Henry, VT WIC
  • Questions and next meeting – Patrick Henry, VT WIC

As always, we invite all our retail partners and store personnel to listen in, ask questions, and stay informed about our rapidly approaching eWIC implementation. Minutes of the meeting will be sent out afterward, so if there’s anyone else in your organization you want on this email list, please reply to jkeller@keller-fuller.com

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Time to Apply for Reauthorization as a WIC Retailer

Vermont WIC retail vendors outside of our Rutland eWIC pilot area will be receiving the authorization application package today by email. Make sure you watch for it, and contact us immediately if you don’t receive it by the end of today (March 24th). The completed application must be filed with Vermont WIC by April 15th for you to continue as an eWIC retailer for our statewide rollout beginning October 1, 2015.

There are three parts to the application package this year:

  1. The Application Questionnaire. Again, we are using SurveyMonkey(tm) to gather the application information. You’ll be able to use your internet browser to get to the survey form, and simply fill in and click through the questions.
  2. The Price Survey. Because we are moving from home delivery to retail for the entire WIC food package, we need to collect your food prices with your application.
  3. The Retail Vendor Agreement. To complete the process, you must submit a signed copy of the agreement. This is modified from the current agreement to reflect expanded food package you’ll be offering to WIC participants, and the use of eWIC for financial transactions.wIC foods 2

Some of our retail partners may not have seen much “WIC business” from the cash value fruits and vegetables card, and might not think it’s worth meeting the new standards to continue participating. We believe the experience with fruits and vegetables is not a good predictor of the expanded program, which includes all of the grocery staples: cereals, milk, cheese, and yogurt, grains and bread, baby foods and infant formulas, in addition to fruits and vegetables. (Your email will also include the Approved Products List and the Minimum Inventory requirement.)

To give you an idea of the significance of this change when the WIC food package goes retail: Vermont WIC currently spends over $10 million a year on home delivered WIC foods; the retail fruit and vegetable benefit totaled less than $500,000 a year.

The email with the application materials contains detailed instructions, but if you have any questions, please contact Patrick Henry, WIC Retail Vendor Manager at 802-951-5167.

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Updated Approved Products List Now Available

Refinements are continuing for our Approved Products List: this new release is expanded to include more brands of infant foods, and to add hot cereals and yogurt.

Here’s the link to the PDF version of the APL. babyfood

Approved_Products_List_Feb2015

(If you’d prefer the Word version, email your request to jkeller@keller-fuller.com.)

 

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