By Associated Press - Thursday, April 15, 2021

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi will close all of its food distribution sites for the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program by late summer or early fall, the state Department of Human Services said Thursday.

People will receive WIC benefits through electronic cards, and they can use those to buy food or infant formula at grocery stores and pharmacies. About 85,000 low-income women and children in Mississippi are enrolled in WIC.

The department announced in 2019 that the state-run WIC warehouses would start closing during 2020, and that the program would start using electronic benefit transfer cards because of a federal mandate.

Mississippi is one of the only states in the country that uses a warehouse distribution system and paper vouchers to distribute benefits to WIC participants.

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