Prevent. Promote. Protect.


  • Office Hours Monday-Friday 8am-5pm

Tara Pennell, Registered Nurse/WIC Director ext. 415

Tara Pennell has worked at the Alexander County Health Department since February 2014. She graduated from Catawba Valley Community College in 2004 with an Associate’s Degree in Nursing. Tara worked as a pregnancy care manager, assisting pregnant women throughout their pregnancy, prior to moving to WIC in March 2016. Tara enjoys assisting the moms and children that come into WIC. She lives in Alexander County with her husband and two daughters. When she is not working she enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

April Marlowe, Registered Nurse/Competent Professional Authority, Ext. 415

April Marlowe has worked at the Alexander County Health Department since September 2010 and prior to that had 16 years of pediatric experience. She graduated from Mitchell Community College in 1995 with an Associate’s Degree in Nursing. April worked as a CC4C care manager, helping children ages 0-5 and their families in Alexander County with case management, prior to moving to WIC in June 2016. April also served as child health lead nurse and also assisted in all clinical programs. April loves helping all the children and moms that come into WIC because pediatrics is her passion. She lives in Alexander County with her husband and daughter. When she is not working she enjoys spending time with her family and friends and sweet little puppy Sadie.

What Benefits Does WIC Provide?

Nutritious Foods

The WIC Program promotes healthy habits and healthy families.

  • Breastfeed your baby
  • Eat more fiber
  • Lower the fat
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Eat more whole grains
  • Drink less juice and sweetened beverages
  • Make family meals matter

To help participants practice these habits, WIC provides basic nutritious foods to eligible pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, as well as infants and children. These foods are rich in protein, iron, calcium, fiber and vitamins.

Participants exchange WIC food instruments (which list specific foods and quantities) and cash-value vouchers (for fruits and vegetables) at authorized retail grocery stores and pharmacies. In some cases, special formulas are distributed directly to the participant from the WIC local agency.

Foods for Infants (Birth-12 mo.)

The Program strongly encourages and provides support for breastfeeding. It recognizes that breastfeeding is the best method of infant feeding and nurturing. However, formula-fed infants receive the WIC contract standard milk- and soy-based iron-fortified infant formula for the first year of life. Beginning at six months of age, infants may also receive iron-fortified infant cereal, and infant fruits and vegetables. Infants who are fully breastfed also receive infant meats.

In some cases, infants may require a formula other than the WIC contract standard milk- or soy-based formulas. Before a WIC agency can issue any formula other than the contract standard milk- or soy-based formula, the participant must obtain a completed prescription from a physician or health care provide. However, please note that the only standard milk- or soy-based formulas provided by the NC WIC Program are those on the current contract; other standard brands are not provided.
WIC Program Prescription Form


  • Mother's Breastmilk
  • Infant Formula
  • Infant Cereal
  • Infant Fruits and Vegetables
  • Infant Meats (for fully breastfed infants only)

Foods for Women and Children

Women and children (one to five years of age) participating in WIC receive food instruments and cash-value vouchers for a variety of healthy foods. The choices may include whole-grain cereal and bread, brown rice, whole-wheat and soft-corn tortillas; milk; cheese or tofu; eggs; peanut butter; dried or canned beans, peas or lentils; fruit or vegetable juices; and fruits and vegetables (fresh, frozen or canned). Women who exclusively breastfeed their babies receive larger quantities of foods as well as canned tuna or salmon. Special formulas or nutritional supplements are also available to women and children participants with certain medical conditions. Before a WIC agency can issue any formula or nutritional supplement, the participant must obtain a prescription from a physician or health care provider.
WIC Program Prescription Form


  • Milk
  • Cereal
  • Whole-grain Bread , Brown Rice, Whole Wheat and Soft Corn Tortillas, and Whole Wheat Pastas
  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Juice
  • Cheese
  • Tofu
  • Yogurt
  • Dried or Canned Beans, Peas and Lentils
  • Peanut Butter
  • Eggs

Additional Foods for Women Who Solely Breastfeed:

  • Larger quantities of the foods listed above
  • Chunk-light Tuna or Salmon
Nutrition Education

Nutrition education is a major benefit of the Program and is provided to all adults and, whenever possible, to children directly. The goals of nutrition education are:

  • To teach about the relationship between nutrition, physical activity and good health.
  • To improve the eating and physical activity habits as they relate to the participant's nutritional risk.
  • To promote optimal use of the WIC Program's supplemental foods, and other nutritious foods.
  • To provide nutrition education that is appropriate to an individual's age, educational background, household situation, language, cultural and ethnic preferences, and nutritional needs.
Referrals for Health Care

WIC serves as an adjunct to the health care system. WIC enjoys a reciprocal relationship with the health care community, receiving referrals from private and public health care providers and providing referrals as needed for health and social services. Referrals from WIC include immunizations and substance abuse counseling and treatment. WIC encourages persons already receiving medical services to remain under their physicians' care. It also encourages individuals not receiving medical care to seek and maintain appropriate care.

Breastfeeding Promotion and Support

Breastfeeding promotion and support is an integral part of the WIC Program. WIC strives to increase the initiation, duration and exclusivity of breastfeeding among women enrolled in the Program. All WIC agencies have trained personnel ready to assist mothers in making informed decisions about their infant feeding choice. WIC also instructs mothers in the basics of breastfeeding. Many WIC agencies have breastfeeding peer counselor support programs that provide mother-to-mother counseling. In addition, all local WIC agencies provide breastfeeding aids such as manual and electric breast pumps. WIC offers a food package for women who exclusively breastfeed their babies. This food package adds tuna or salmon in cans or pouches, as well as additional amounts of whole grains, cereal, milk, cheese, juice, peanut butter, beans, peas and lentils.

Helpful Links

  • United States Breastfeeding Committee - The United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) is an independent nonprofit coalition of more than 40 nationally influential professional, educational, and governmental organizations, that share a common mission to improve the Nation’s health by working collaboratively to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.

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