In the first government-wide customer satisfaction survey, Women, Infants and Children (WIC) received a customer satisfaction rating of 83, 10 points higher than the national average.
WIC is a supplemental nutrition program providing free, nutritious food to new mothers, infants and children under age 5 who meet state income requirements.
"I don't know how people survive without it," Moffat County WIC education specialist Kathy Short said. "I was on WIC as a single mother. Now, as a WIC educator, I'm seeing the program from both sides of the spectrum."
There are 255 people registered for WIC in Moffat County and 140 in Routt County.
Participants in the study rated the clarity of the WIC eligibility process at 87, timeliness and adequacy of food benefits at 85 and usefulness of information at 83. Any score above 80 is considered high.
"With WIC customer satisfaction higher than all but the nation's top 10 companies, we know that WIC mothers, infants and children are getting a healthy start," said Don Johnson, National Association of WIC Directors president. "Scientific studies have proven that WIC works."
WIC is organized in this area through the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) and serves those who are nutritionally at risk based on medical assessment. Participants receive staples, such as milk, eggs, cheese, cereal, formula and juice. They also receive nutrition education and referrals to health services.
WIC has been a state-funded program for more than 20 years. Most eligibility is determined by income. Young mothers who live with their parents or who are going to school may qualify.
Eligible people are those whose combined family income does not exceed 185 percent of federal poverty standards, which is the standard for most VNA programs. A pregnant woman or a mother with one child can qualify if her income is less than $20,461. A family of four must have an income less than $30,895 to qualify.