WIC leader retires

Auglaize County Women Infants and Children (WIC) Director Cindy McFarland is not viewing her approaching retirement as the end. She is looking at it as a new beginning.

“First I am going to try and do some remodeling, and then I might do some traveling,” said McFarland, who lives in Lima with her husband, Mike. “My husband is still working, so we will have to work around that.” McFarland, 58, is retiring after nearly 31 years as

WIC director at the Auglaize County Health Department. McFarland’s retirement is effective Dec. 31. She is being replaced by Jenny Boroff.

“It just seemed like the right time do to it,” McFarland said. “I had wanted to work a couple more years. My parents are in good health but they are in their 80s. I would like to have more time to spend with them and help them out. And there are pension and health care changes taking effect after the end of the year, so it was a good time to leave. It was a tough decision, but it seemed like the right time.”

McFarland took the post in April 1981 and has been there ever since. She said it was a very rewarding career, and she had seen many second generations come in to for help.

She has seen the help needed grow considerably in her tenure.

“There were 51 people using WIC when I started,” McFarland said. “Now we have 860 to 870. Half the babies born in Auglaize County now get help with WIC. We peaked at 1,100. It kind of goes with the economy.”

WIC is an income-based special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children. It assists pregnant and breastfeeding women, women who recently had a baby, infants and children as old as 5, who are at health risk due to inadequate nutrition.

The program improves pregnancy outcomes by providing or referring support services necessary for full-term pregnancies, reduces infant mortality by reducing the incidence of low birth weight and provides infants and children with a healthy start in life by improving poor or inadequate diets.

WIC provides nutrition education, breastfeeding education and support; supplemental, highly nutritious foods such as cereal, eggs, milk, whole grain foods, fruits and vegetables, and iron-fortified infant formula; referral to prenatal and pediatric health care and other maternal and child health and human service programs Some examples are Head Start, Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps.

“We have had a lot of infants with various health problems,” McFarland said.

McFarland, who went through an open-heart surgery herself nine years ago, said her experience with that has led her to wanting to possibly put in some time as a volunteer at a local hospital.

“I don’t want to sit at home all day,” McFarland said. “I don’t think I could handle that.”

She said she will miss the people the most.

“The girls working here are really nice,” McFarland said. “We have a great staff here. I will also miss seeing the kids and the families.”