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Health department rolls out Project Fresh in Branch County

COLDWATER, MI (WTVB) - At a time when every dollar counts, the local Health Department says you can count on Project Fresh or Farm Resources Expanding and Supporting Health. It’s a nutrition education program offered through the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency in conjunction with Michigan State University Extension Services.

The program is designed to put fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables into the hands of young families who qualify for WIC, Women, Infants and Children program. If you are a WIC recipient, just stop by your local health department office and pick up your coupon book. Each book contains 15 - $2 coupons which can be used at any participating farmer’s market. You should look for the laminated yellow poster which says: “Project Fresh coupons accepted here”. If you aren’t enrolled in WIC, but are pregnant or have a child up to age five, you should contact your local health department office to find out if you qualify.

According to Jo Ann Wilczynski, Prevention Services Director at the district health department, based upon the tri-county’s free and reduced lunch statistics, many families with young children living in the area do qualify for WIC. Wilczynski say they know that in some school districts, as many as 70%-80% of the students in the elementary grades qualify for free and reduced lunches with the income guidelines the same as those used for WIC.