Single Source Procurement: WIC Targeted Nutrition Outreach and Public Education

Pursuant to New York State Finance Law § 163.10(b), The New York State Department of Health is presenting the following summary of relevant circumstances, and material and substantial reasons why a competitive procurement was not feasible.

The New York State Department of Health, Division of Nutrition (DON), Bureau of Supplemental Food Programs (BSFP) seeks a waiver from competitive bidding requirements to enter into a two-year, single source grant contract (C30846GG) with Hunger Solutions New York, Inc., to conduct targeted outreach activities to increase participation in the NYS Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Increasing participation in the NYS WIC Program will allow the State to fully utilize federal funding to serve more eligible participants through the provision of nutritious foods, information on healthy eating and referrals to health care.

The NYS WIC Program provides breastfeeding support, nutrition counseling, health education, health care referrals, referrals to other services, and nutritious foods to approximately 435,000 women, infants and children each month through 92 local providers (hospitals, local health departments and community based organizations) at 400 service sites. The fundamental purpose of the program is to ensure the health and well-being of income eligible families with young children. WIC provides individually tailored food prescriptions issued to each participant for specific types and brands of foods that meet strict nutrition requirements. These food benefits, valued at over $400 million annually, can be redeemed at more than 3,200 authorized retail food vendors across the state.

The Department has an immediate need for these services as a result of declining caseload over the last five to seven years. In New York State, there are currently an estimated 775,000 women, infants and children potentially eligible to participate in the WIC program. Approximately 520,000 of those eligible individuals have enrolled in the program, but only about 435,000 actively participate and receive benefits. This 56 percent statewide participation level resulted in the return of approximately $61 million in unclaimed food funds to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for fiscal year 2016.

OTDA released a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) in both 2011 and 2014 to secure services of eligible organizations to conduct nutrition outreach and public education to increase SNAP participation. In both instances, Hunger Solutions New York, Inc. was the successful bidder resulting in two grant contracts (C021219 and C00001GG). Hunger Solutions New York, Inc. has extensive knowledge of the population that will be served through the proposed DON contract and OTDA's RFP specifically referenced increasing outreach and education for the WIC Program. The timing and nature of services currently provided by Hunger Solutions New York, Inc. to OTDA will help facilitate meeting the comparable goals of the WIC Program and allow the Department to leverage federal funding in a cost-effective manner.

The DON will enter into a single source grant contract with Hunger Solutions New York, Inc. for targeted nutrition outreach and education services to increase participation in the NYS WIC program. There will be considerable cost savings to the state by contracting with Hunger Solutions New York, Inc. because of their existing knowledge of the same target population and current/previous successful outreach activities with OTDA. This will reduce startup costs and delays which would be incurred with a new vendor.

Procurement / Program Name WIC Targeted Nutrition Outreach and Public Education
Contractor Name(s) Hunger Solutions New York, Inc.
Contract Period 9/1/2017 – 8/31/2019
Contract Number(s) C30846GG