CWA Flash E-Newsletter - April 7, 2020
Quick Links:
Upcoming Training & Conferences
Job Listings
Breastfeeding Advocacy
Our Projects:
WIC Can Help logo

  CalFresh can add to many WIC families' food budgets and help them put healthy and nutritious food on the table. CalFresh also stimulates our economy & supports communities. Click Here for the CalFresh Toolkit, and check here for special COVID-19 CalFresh considerations! WIC Can help connect families to SNAP. 
WWW logo

Masking: The Facts  
Surgical masks may help prevent infected people - including asymptomatic people - from making others sick with seasonal viruses, including coronaviruses, according to new research. But CDPH is quick to remind us that while masking may help, it is NOT a replacement for social distancing and handwashing. 
Connect With Us!
Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook, follow us on  Twitter and
Shopping at Amazon?
AmazonSmile logo
Support CWA without spending anything extra by using AmazonSmile!
Did someone share this with you? Sign up here to get the CWA Flash directly!
$2 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Bill Signed  
At the end of March, Congress approved, and President Trump signed, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2 trillion relief bill to ease the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act was the third bill related to the COVID-19 crisis to be passed by Congress, and seven main groups that would see the widest-reaching impacts: individuals, small businesses, big corporations, hospitals and public health, federal safety net, state and local governments, and education. On March 18, 2020,  Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law, marking the second major legislative initiative to address COVID-19 (the first was signed on March 6 and provided emergency funding relief for domestic and global efforts). The Families First act included $500M in additional funding for WIC. Kaiser Permanente has provided a summary of the Families First act, including a table of key provisions, including paid sick leave, insurance coverage of coronavirus testing, nutrition assistance, and unemployment benefits. 
Gov. Newsom Addresses WIC, Childcare, SNAP for Kids in Executive Orders 
On March 30 th Gov. Newsom addressed provisions for WIC benefits in an Executive Order (Item #18) that provides flexibility for WIC certification and eligibility, food delivery systems, and authorized supplemental foods. Recognition of, and support for, the needed flexibilities expedites the ability of WIC staff to more quickly work in new ways, ensuring families receive food while also protecting the health of staff and participants. Then on April 4th, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that will facilitate child care for children of essential critical infrastructure workers to prioritize essential workers, including health care professionals, emergency response personnel, law enforcement, and grocery workers. The order also allows the state to take advantage of new federal flexibility to provide pandemic SNAP benefits to students to reduce food insecurity and ensure children receive nutritious meals at low or no cost. A copy of the Governor's executive order can be found here and the text can be found here.
CWA News
WIC is Serving CA's Families
It has only been a few weeks, but state and local agency WIC staff have moved quickly to implement new ways to provide benefits and support for WIC participants. Working with state WIC leadership, using state and USDA flexibilities and waivers, and the Governor's Executive Order, local agencies are moving to providing benefits remotely, adapting videoconferencing, managing food availability, and working in new ways to protect staff, an essential workforce, and participants. With unemployment numbers surging, WIC staff are serving current participants, and re-engaged and new participants. Click here for information on accessing WIC benefits. 
The California WIC Card Rollout is Complete!
Last week California WIC successfully completed the monumental statewide rollout of the new California WIC electronic debit card, adoption of a new computer system called WIC WISE (WIC Web Information System Exchange) and release of the California WIC app. This historic modernization, required by USDA and nearly a decade in the making, provides many needed improvements, including a better experience for participants, grocery clerks, and farmers, expanded abilities to serve families, and versatility to evaluate services and program outcomes. Outstanding leadership and collaboration have been shown by the California Department of Public Health WIC staff, WIC local agency staff, grocers, and technology business partners, in addition to numerous state departments and divisions that interface with and support the WIC program. ACTION: Join us in expressing our congratulations and gratitude for the hard work of local WIC agency staff as well as the CDPH WIC team! 
Telling WIC Stories in Difficult Times
CWA has been approached by a few reporters in recent weeks, writing about the difficulties that many WIC shoppers are experiencing as a result of "panic buying" during the COVID-19 pandemic. We were able to help with a few stories, including with BabyCenter (with much-appreciation for the help from some local agency vendor liaisons), Capitol Public Radio who also spoke to our partners at California Food Policy Advocates, and one with CBS 13. Our partners at NWA have also been contributing, bringing awareness to the unique challenges faced by WIC shoppers, and offering suggestions on how the general public can help reduce those challenges. ACTION: In an effort to have the most accurate information about what WIC shoppers are experiencing, and to have WIC participants available to speak out when we receive media requests, we are collecting stories. You can tell your WIC story here, and please share this link widely with your networks!
Our Top News Picks
Early Introduction of Solid Foods May Contribute to Childhood Obesity
Infants who were started on solid foods at or before three months of age showed changes in the levels of gut bacteria and bacterial byproducts, called short-chain fatty acids, measured in their stool samples, according to a study from researchers at Johns Hopkins. Prior studies have linked the early introduction of solid foods to a higher chance of being overweight in childhood. The new study suggests that early solid food introduction may predispose infants to being overweight at least in part by altering the gut bacterial population. The AAP recommends that infants be breastfed exclusively for the first six months, after which solid foods should be introduced as a supplement to breastmilk or milk formula. 
Gardening Good for Body Positivity
New research has found that community gardening promotes positive body image, which measures someone's appreciation of their own body and its functions, and an acceptance of bodily imperfections. The study, published in the journal Ecopsychology, involved 84 gardeners from 12 urban community sites in north London. Through a series of questionnaires, it found that the gardeners had significantly higher levels of body appreciation, significantly higher levels of body pride, and significantly higher levels of appreciation for their body's functionality, compared to a group of 81 non-gardeners, recruited from the same area of London. The study also discovered that the longer period of time the participants spent gardening, the larger the improvement in positive body image when they left their community garden. 
School Closures During COVID-19 May Increase Risk of Childhood Obesity 
Public health scientists predict that school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic will exacerbate the epidemic of childhood obesity. An article in Obesity explains that COVID-19-related school closures will double out-of-school time this year for many children and exacerbate risk factors for weight gain associated with summer recess. Unhealthy weight gain over the summer school recess is particularly apparent for Hispanic and African American youth, and children who are already overweight. Physical activity changes, social distancing and stay at home orders reduce the opportunities for exercise, particularly for children in urban areas. As households stock up on shelf-stable foods, they appear to be purchasing ultra-processed, calorie-dense comfort foods.  The association between screen time and snacking is of concern for exacerbating overweight and obesity in children and available data show that online video game usage is already soaring.
We ALL Count! Complete Your Census Today!
It's the official count for the next 10 years, and we all need to be counted in order to get our fair share of Congressional Representatives and federal dollars for programs in our community. During this stay at home period, the best way to complete it is via website at, by phone available in 13 languages (, or by completing the paper form. Remember your information is secure and confidential, and it will not be shared with anyone. Do it today! 
CWA COVID-19 Resources Page
CWA has been working to maintain current resources on our COVID-19 Resources Page. We have added a tab for local WIC agency resources for teleworking, office hygiene, and local agency generated tips and job aids, as well as resources for families about unemployment, food, housing, and resources for education while kids are out of school. We will continue updating this page as the situation changes and more resources become available.  
Breastfeeding and COVID-19: Story Collection   
The USBC has launched a story collector titled "How is the COVID-19 Pandemic Impacting Infant Feeding?" Health care providers, pregnant and breastfeeding families, and all public health stakeholders are invited to share their experiences and insights about how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the infant feeding experience. The situation is constantly evolving, and stories are critically needed to inform USBC efforts as we seek to minimize the impact of this global crisis on breastfeeding families. There are options to share anonymously and privately.
Black Maternal Health Week 
Black Maternal Health Week
is coming up this week, Saturday, April 11, through Friday, April 17! The Black Mamas Matter Alliance has announced that the 2020 theme is Centering Black Mamas: The Right to Live and Thrive. The campaign and activities for Black Maternal Health Week serve to amplify the voices of Black mamas and center the values and traditions of the reproductive and birth justice movements. BMMA has published the #BMHW20: Campaign Toolkit with messaging guidance, sample social media messages, shareable graphics, list of national digital activities, and resources to help you engage with the campaign and its partners.  
California WIC Association
3960 Industrial Blvd., Suite 500 West Sacramento, CA 95691

Phone: 916-572-0700; Fax: 916-572-0760