What is WIC?
WIC is a nutrition program that helps the whole family learn about eating well and staying healthy. WIC helps thousands of families in Knox County with good food, helpful advice, and referrals to community resources. WIC serves pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, infants, and children under the age of five who qualify. The WIC Program is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture.
This website contains much of the information a family will need to participate. If you have any other questions, please call us at 865-215-5030.
Frequently Asked Questions
WIC is for women who are pregnant or had a baby in the last six months; breastfeeding women who had a baby in the last twelve months; infants; and children up to the age of five, including adopted and foster children. Fathers may apply for their children. Knox County WIC serves residents of Knox and the surrounding counties. You must meet income guidelines to qualify for WIC services. Check the income guidelines for your family to see if you qualify.
You can also use the WIC Prescreening Tool to see if you might be eligible for WIC.
WIC income guidelines are higher than most people think. For example, a family of four can earn about $55,000 per year and qualify for WIC. Check the income guidelines for your family to see if you qualify.
WIC income guidelines are automatically met if (1) you or anyone in your household receives SNAP (formerly called Food Stamps) benefits, or if (2) you are pregnant and enrolled in TennCare; or your child is currently enrolled in TennCare.
WIC offers many benefits to families who qualify for services:
Each participant receives specific foods to help meet individual nutrition needs. These are issued as electronic benefits accessed with a TN WIC card.
- Food lists for Tennessee WIC eligible foods
All pregnant women will learn about breastfeeding and the support services that WIC has in place to help new moms meet their individual breastfeeding goals.
At least twice per year, participants get to talk one-on-one with a nutrition educator about the food they eat and how to incorporate healthy habits into their lifestyles. Nutrition education is also offered with brief, online education that can be viewed from any device with an internet connection or a fun, relaxed group setting in the WIC Kitchen where families learn from each other. The nutrition educator can explain these options in more detail.
The nutrition educator will ask about growth and iron status during your conversation. Growth checks make sure our moms, babies, and children are growing well – not too fast or slow. A simple blood test checks iron status to make sure participants are eating enough important nutrients to stay healthy. We can record information from your most recent visit to the doctor’s office or you may choose to come to the WIC office so we can measure you or your child.
Referrals to additional services
WIC is well connected in the community and wants to make sure your family is too. From doctors and dentists to additional resources like food, car seats, and cribs, you can talk to us about your family’s needs. We will do our best to match you with a community resource that addresses your concerns.
To schedule an appointment call 865-215-5016, for Spanish call 865-215-5418. For the hearing impaired (TDD) call 865-215-5001.
We value your time: when phone lines are busy, call 865-215-5016 or 865-215-5030 and leave a voicemail message, tell us who you are and the best number to reach you. We return calls every afternoon that we are open.
Or you can send an email. Send us your phone number and we’ll call you to schedule your appointment within the same or next business day.
WIC appointments are currently being done over the phone. Please call 865-215-5030 with any questions you have.
There are a few types of WIC appointments, so let us try to explain each one individually.
- Bear in mind that a family may have individuals with various appointment types all on the same day. For example, Mom and baby might need to be certified when your older child has a follow-up visit. We make every effort to keep families scheduled together to make efficient use of your time. In this example, the family is not eligible for online or group because we need to talk to Mom individually. We will talk about all the WIC eligible family members at the same time.
Certification for the WIC Program happens annually for each participant in your family. This appointment type requires the most time. Let’s walk through it:
As of August 2023, you may choose to complete this visit through a series of phone calls or you can come to our office to talk with us directly. Either way, appointments are preferred but not required.
Step 1: One of our clerical team will talk with you about your proofs of eligibility. She documents these in our computer system. She will then explain the rights and responsibilities of participating in the WIC program. She will also ask if you are registered to vote and provide an opportunity for you to do so if you aren’t. The USDA, which funds the WIC program, requires us to ask these questions.
- If individuals within a family are on different certification schedules, you will need prove eligibility more than once per year. For example, if your son was certified in June and your daughter was certified in September, you will show proof each June and each September for your children to continue on the program.
Step 2: The nutrition educator will talk with you on the phone or in our office. She will ask about your last appointment at your doctor’s office and how you or your child is growing. This is also your time to talk about any food or eating topic that is on your mind. We love to talk about introducing fruits and vegetables, meal and snack patterns, and how food can help you feel good and stay healthy. We also like to talk about how your baby or child is developing and when they are ready for more tastes and textures. Please use this time to ask about the foods you will receive from WIC and how to shop for them in the grocery stores. The nutrition educator can also tell you about other resources in the community that may help meet your family’s needs.
Your conversation with the nutrition educator will continue with setting a nutrition goal for your family. Goals are a great way to focus on one thing you can improve – whether it’s more time with family meals or just helping your child try one new food, the educators can help you plan one small change to help keep you and your children healthy.
Your visit is almost complete! The last step is issuing your food benefits and setting your next appointment. We typically issue 3 months of benefits in a food package that can be tailored to meet your needs. Make sure to discuss the WIC foods and your benefit cycle’s “first use date” with your nutrition educator. Your next appointment will be during your last cycle of benefits.
The mid-certification visit is approximately 6 months after certification.
You will have another conversation with the nutrition educator. At this visit she will ask you about growth measures again and the goal you set at the certification visit. You can talk about your progress with your goal as well as any other questions you have about food, the WIC program, or your child’s eating behavior.
The follow up appointments are quick and easy. These occur around the three month point between the certification and mid-certification. WIC appointments are usually made every three months, so every other appointment will be a follow-up visit. For this visit, you can follow the link in the WIC Smart App to a short, online lesson or you can come to the WIC Kitchen at the health department for a group lesson.
- WIC Smart Need a flexible option for nutrition education? Go online!
During your certification or mid-certification appointment, WIC staff will provide the information you need to complete an online lesson and give you an appointment in the month of your last set of benefits. All you do is go online and complete one lesson within 30 days of your WIC Smart appointment. WIC Staff will verify your completed lesson, issue more benefits, and schedule your next appointment.
- Quick WIC
If you choose Quick WIC as your follow-up appointment, you get to join us on the second floor in our demonstration kitchen to talk about WIC and your experience with pregnancy, breastfeeding, and raising children. We know you have expertise to offer other caregivers in your shoes, so this is your time to shine! If you do not want to share your experience, come to hear from other parents about theirs. This visit often includes an opportunity to sample a recipe the nutrition educator has prepared with food you can get with your benefits. Children and infants are welcome to attend but are not required to be present. Quick WIC visits are usually finished within the hour.
Your nutrition educator will give a follow-up appointment for WIC Smart during your certification or mid-certification appointment. Online nutrition education for Tennessee WIC is through the WIC Smart App. If you can’t download the app, go to wicsmart.com, click on Tennessee, and follow the prompts. If you need additional instructions, please call our office and ask to speak with one of our nutrition team members.
Quick WIC is group nutrition education for eligible WIC clients. Quick WIC groups are available in Spanish on Tuesdays and English on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The groups meet in our demonstration kitchen on the second floor of the main facility of the Knox County Health Department. Quick WIC is an excellent way for our families to share their experiences and learn alongside other families who are on their journeys of raising young children. Many of our groups also get to sample a recipe that utilizes WIC foods. Quick WIC is a relaxed and efficient setting to learn from other families and receive your food benefits, all in about an hour.
Tennessee WIC has a contract with Abbott Nutrition to provide Similac formulas for our participants. If mom is not providing breastmilk, milk-based formula is the recommended food for infants under one year of age. We can provide Similac Advance, Similac Sensitive, and Similac Total Comfort, (milk-based) or Similac Isomil (soy-based) formula without a doctor’s note if no other product has been requested.
For all other formula, visit the Tennessee WIC website to review the most current resources including:
- Updated Request for Therapeutic Products
- WIC Formulary
- WIC Qualifying Conditions
Requests should be faxed to our office: 865-215-5064. WIC nutrition staff review formula requests for compliance with State policy. For any questions, please contact the WIC Nutrition Program Manager at 865-215-5052.
WIC is available at the main Knox County Health Department, located at 140 Dameron Avenue, Knoxville, Tennessee 37917.
WIC is open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. We open at 11:00 a.m. on the first Wednesday of each month to allow for staff training. WIC is closed on all Knox County government holidays.
WIC foods are purchased at grocery stores, large and small, that display signs saying, “Authorized WIC Vendor – Tennessee WIC”. Your WIC benefits can be spent only at the approved stores. Check the WIC Stores icon in the WIC Shopper App for assistance finding your nearest store. Click here for a list of authorized vendors in Knox County.
- Before shopping, check your TN WIC balance with one of the following tips:
- Download the WIC Shopper App! Available for Apple and Android. Review the My Benefits icon for current and future months benefits.
- Go online! Create your account at www.WICConnect.com with the “Cardholders” feature. This will allow you to view your current balance anytime.
- Call the number on the back of your card. They will read your balance to you.
- Ask the store to print a copy of your balance. They will need to swipe your card to do this for you.
- Keep your receipts from your WIC shopping trips. Your remaining balance and the date your current benefits expire will print near the bottom of the receipt each time you shop with your card.
- Know your PIN for using your TN WIC card.
- Select your correct WIC-approved items.
- Scan the item with the Scan Barcode icon in the WIC Shopper App!
- Double check food type and package size matches your benefits.
- If you need to report an item that should be eligible but isn’t, use the I couldn’t buy this! icon.
- At checkout in all Knox County stores, you can let the cashier scan all your groceries. You do not need to separate the WIC foods or mention this is a WIC transaction.
- To pay, always swipe your WIC card first!
- Enter your PIN.
- A redemption receipt will print. You may review it to check that all your WIC items will be paid for by WIC.
- When you are satisfied with the redemption receipt, choose “confirm” on the keypad.
- Pay for any remaining balance with SNAP or other form of payment.
- Need help at the store? Text or call the WIC Lady SOS at 865-679-2941
- This service is available from 8 am to 4:30 pm (excluding weekends and holidays).
- b. After hours? If you purchased an item that should have been paid by WIC, send us a photo of your receipt and we'll be in touch when we’re back in the office.
Click here to view resources available in Knox County.
- 865-215-5016 (Schedule Appointment)
- 865-215-5418 (Citas y información en español)
- 865-215-5030 (Information/Questions)
- Leave a message for a return call; our staff returns calls every afternoon for messages that are left at this number
- WIC administrative staff:
- 865-215-5048: WIC Director
- 865-215-5052: Nutrition Director
- 865-215-5060: Breastfeeding Coordinator
- 865-215-5050: Vendor Coordinator
- 865-215-5064 (fax)
To contact the Tennessee WIC State office in Nashville by phone, call 1-800-DIAL WIC (1-800-342-5942)
Additional WIC Program information is available online at www.tn.gov/health/health-program-areas/fhw/wic.html or at fns.usda.gov/wic/
WIC Qualifying Conditions
Request form (TN WIC Request for therapeutic products)
TN WIC Formulary
HCP TN WIC Website