Alaskans receiving food assistance through the state will be able to go paperless this year.

Over the year the Alaska Division of Public Assistance's Special Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program will roll out the option of electronic cards instead of paper checks.

Just as electronic benefit transfer cards have replaced food stamps with the modern SNAP benefits system, the eWIC cards will allow mothers, infants and children new ways to purchase groceries. The goal is to make shopping quicker and easier for those who receive benefits. It will let those with the card purchase food as they need it, instead of doing all of their shopping at once.

Southeast Alaska's program began on Feb. 21. Right now a pilot program using the cards is available in the following communities: Juneau, Angoon, Haines, Hoonah, Kake, Petersburg, Wrangell, Yakutat.

The state will add more areas beginning on March 11: Ketchikan, Sitka, Metlakatla, Prince of Wales Island communities.

Later in the year the state plans to make the cards available to more Alaskans. Here's a list from the state's WIC website:

June 17, 2019
Municipality of Anchorage
Matanuska Susitna Valley - Alaska Family Services
Fairbanks - Resource Center for Parents and Children
Fairbanks and Interior - Tanana Chiefs Conference

July 8, 2019
Kodiak Region - Kodiak Area Native Association
Kenai/Homer - Alaska Family Services
Valdez Region - State of Alaska

July 29, 2019
Barrow Region - North Slope Borough
Nome Region - Norton Sound Health Corporation
Kotzebue Region - Maniilaq Association

August 19, 2019
Dillingham Region - Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation
Bethel Region - Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation
Aleutian-Pribilof Islands - South Central Foundation

If you want more information about the state's WIC program, you can visit its website at wic.alaska.gov.