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by Kaitlin Jackson

Fri, Aug 4th 2017 10:35 am

Arianna and Alanny Martinez are festival ready with their masks from WIC.

Arianna and Alanny Martinez are festival ready with their masks from WIC.

About 200 people of all ages recently attended the free 2017 WIC Healthy Baby Festival, hosted by Catholic Charities Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program. Activities for children and information for parents were features of the July 25 event held in Washington Park in Dunkirk.
Games, face painting, crafts, educational resources, prizes and giveaways were part of the two-hour event.
Catholic Charities WIC hosted the event in celebration of World Breastfeeding Week
(Aug. 1-7), to raise awareness about the significance and benefits that breastfeeding provides.
The Healthy Baby Festival was supported by 15 local community agencies across the three counties, offering resources and activities. Some participating agencies were: Chautauqua Opportunities Head Start, Lake Erie Medical Services, Jamestown Baby Café, Chautauqua County Health Department and SIDS Prevention.

Yvette Hernandez (left) is readying for her first child and appreciated the chance to talk breastfeeding with the experts – Bridget Kuchta (center) and Amber Mason.

All were encouraged to attend the festival, especially expectant mothers, families and caregivers. Additionally, anyone interested in learning more about breastfeeding or in support of the importance of a healthy start for babies was welcome.

 “The weather for the festival was cooler this year than last year, but certainly lent itself to a great time for the children and families, as well as our community partners,” said Katie Constantino, Catholic Charities WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator.
The Dunkirk festival was sponsored by Brooks Memorial Hospital and Lake Erie Medical Services. The annual Catholic Charities Appeal also supported the event.
 Catholic Charities administers WIC in Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties. The program impacted the lives of 1,787 family members in Chautauqua County with five locations. WIC served more than 25,000 women and children up to the age of five in 20 locations in the three counties in 2016.
WIC offers nutrition education and counseling, breastfeeding support, prenatal and postpartum support, referrals and supplemental food vouchers. WIC services are available through application to married or single parents, foster parents or other legal guardians of a child under five. All services offered are free of charge.
For more information about WIC, go to, or call 716-218-1484.
Catholic Charities has helped individuals and families in need since its founding in 1923. That need is varied and widespread – from emergency assistance to counseling and from specialized services for the elderly to help with job training and education. Catholic Charities empowers children, families and seniors to achieve meaningful, healthy and productive lives. In all situations, Catholic Charities delivers support to meet immediate needs, and then assess its clients for other needs to ensure long-term success.
Catholic Charities receives the highest-possible rating (four stars) from Charity Navigator for transparency and sound fiscal management and the highest ratings from the Council on Accreditation for quality service.
For further information about the organization and its services, contact Catholic Charities at (716) 856-4494 or go to You can also check out Catholic Charities on Facebook at, on Twitter at and on Instagram at