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Community Progress Council receives $550,000 grant to reach more families through innovative WIC outreach efforts


Community Progress Council has been awarded a $549,999 grant to implement a WIC Community Innovation and Outreach Project (WIC CIAO). WIC CIAO is supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service and aims to support efforts to develop, implement, and evaluate innovative outreach strategies to increase awareness, participation, and benefit redemption in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and reduce disparities in program delivery.

“Too many families with young children in York County are missing out on the nutrition support and other resources they need in order to thrive,” said Robin Rohrbaugh, President/CEO, Community Progress Council. “We are proud to be part of this critical initiative to identify new ways of connecting people to WIC, and to the comprehensive, integrated services that Community Progress Council provides that we know are critical to helping families rise above poverty and reach economic self-sufficiency.”

Community Progress Council (CPC) was selected through a highly competitive grant process. They are one of only 36 organizations selected nationwide, and the only organization selected in Pennsylvania.

CPC’s project aims to strengthen WIC in York County by increasing awareness of program services and benefits among eligible families, and connecting those families to comprehensive, integrated services to empower them to make progress in education, income, employment, housing, and other goals to help them achieve economic self-sufficiency.

With support from the WIC CIAO grant, CPC will create WIC Community Outreach Navigator positions dedicated to promoting WIC throughout the county, in various languages and locations. Navigators will use a mobile outreach vehicle unit to expand partnerships with Head Start, grocery stores, food pantries and other organizations within the maternal and child health sector to meet people where they already are and connect them to greater services.

“As just one example, every family that is income-eligible for the comprehensive early childhood services of Head Start is also income-eligible for WIC, which are both programs of Community Progress Council that serve young families across York County,” said Rohrbaugh. “This project provides the incredible opportunity to reach eligible families, connect them with WIC, and then also connect participants with comprehensive, integrated services through Community Progress Council to provide ongoing coaching and holistically support families in their journey toward economic self-sufficiency.”

All marketing and program materials will be translated into Spanish and Haitian Creole to meet the growing needs of participants with limited English proficiency. The mobile nature of outreach efforts will specifically target people with limited transportation and families living in rural areas.

A press event with elected officials, community partners, CPC team and Board members, and other project stakeholders will be scheduled in the coming weeks.

In York County, WIC provided healthy foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding counseling, and referrals for 8,146 participants in the past year, including 2,558 pregnant and postpartum individuals and 5,588 children from birth to age 5. More broadly, Community Progress Council connected 16,778 people with greater opportunity in 2022, through programs including coaching, housing and financial education, early childhood education, and workforce development.

In 2020, only 50 percent of all eligible individuals nationwide participated in WIC, equating to a shortfall of almost 6 million individuals. The WIC CIAO Project aims to change that by expanding partnerships with community organizations and using community-level data to develop and implement innovative WIC outreach efforts.

In total, there are 36 WIC CIAO awardees made up of WIC state and local agencies, including tribal nations, and nonprofit entities and organizations.

WIC CIAO is administered through a USDA cooperative agreement with the Food Research & Action Center, in partnership with the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition, the Native American Agriculture Fund, and UnidosUS. WIC CIAO is part of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service broader initiative to modernize WIC.

Visit hellowic.org to find out more about the WIC CIAO Project and awardees, and sign up for updates on WIC CIAO events and announcements.


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About Community Progress Council

Founded in 1965, Community Progress Council is York County’s nonprofit community action agency, whose mission is to empower individuals and families to move toward self-sufficiency and advocate for change to promote community growth. CPC provides comprehensive, integrated services for low- and moderate-income people of all ages, with programs that include early childhood education through Head Start, Early Head Start and Pre-K Counts; housing, financial and employment counseling; nutrition support and education via Women, Infants and Children (WIC); York City Community of Hope; and the agency’s Self-Sufficiency Program that helps residents of York County reach financial stability. Learn more at www.YorkCPC.org.