TALWD History
TALWD History

In 1974, Kathy Litteer was appointed as the State Director for a new program called the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) which was funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) division. Within a few years, the State WIC Directors formed a nation association so they could meet and share ideas, have regular discussions with USDA, and further the expansion of the WIC program.

They named the association The National Association of WIC Directors (NAWD). They organized themselves by having regional representation from each of the seven USDA regions as well as representation from the Indian Tribal Organizations on the Board of Directors and formed committees focused on specific topics like Nutrition Education; Funding; Legislative; Bylaws, Program Integrity; Evaluation, and Case Management. They also hosted an annual membership meeting every year so the Directors from every state had an opportunity to attend and gain updated knowledge on various aspects of the program as well as hear from USDA about the new initiatives and activities that were in the works and what funding looked like for the next year. IT was customary for a State Director to invite one Local Agency Director to attend the annual meeting with them. In February of 1986, the NAWD Annual Meeting was in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Mrs. Litteer invited Lynda Bible from LA #29 in Rosenberg, Texas to attend this meeting. It was at this meeting that the idea of an organization for Texas Local WIC Directors begun to form. At the time, there were only two other states that had an organized Local Agency Director Association. The two states were Washington State and New York. One the return trip to Texas, Lynda and Cathy discussed the possibility of a similar organization for the Local Directors in Texas.

Over the next few months, Lynda corresponded with other WIC Local Directors about forming an organization. A questionnaire was sent to all Directors and the idea begun to take shape. In May of 1986, an unexpected health problem prevented Lynda from proceeding with plans. She contacted Art Fuston from WIC Project #37, in Victoria, Texas to ask if he would take over the organizational process. Art picked up the ball and ran with it! With the help of several interested Directors, TALWD would be formed. It would be an association that functioned independently of but fully supported by the Texas Department of Health, Bureau of WIC Nutrition.

In February of 1987, an organizational meeting for the Texas Association of Local WIC Directors was held. A seven member committee was formed to develop bylaws and carry on the early functions of the organization. The members were representatives of Public Health Regions across the state. The committee consisted of Donna Seward (Chairman), Jackie Barone, Art Fuston, Yvonne Garcia, Mary Louise Quijano, Lila Switzer, and Marie Zaczkowski. It was decided that the first full membership meeting of the Local Directors would be held in El Paso in October of 1987. The first annual meeting of TALWD in El Paso was a huge success and very well attended by Local Directors.

The Art Fuston Award was established in 1989 in memory and in honor of Art Fuston for the exemplarily leadership he demonstrated in the effort to establish TALWD. As such, the award is given annually to a TALWD member that has demonstrated leadership and dedicated service to TALWD.

In 1992, TALWD filed the necessary paperwork with the State Comptroller's office to gain 501 c (3) status as a nonprofit organization.

Since the inception of TALWD in 1987, the following people have served as President:

Donna Seward 1987-1989; Marie Zaczkowski 1989-1991; Ann Salyer-Caldwell 1991-1993; Frannie Nuttal 1993-1995; Jackie McLaughlin 1995-1997; Fay Walker 1997-1999; Margaret Payton 1999-2001; Norma Longoria 2001-2003; Karen Gibson 2003-2005; Margaret Payton 2005-2007; Bertha Amaya 2007-2009; Linda Buck 2009-2011; Karen Sanders 2011-2012; Nora Martinez 2012-2015; Tecora Smith 2015-2017; Darlene Irwin 2017-2018; Eileen Mendoza 2018-

The original logo for the organization was the State of Texas silhouette with a ribbon wrapped around it several times with the words "TALWD Keeping the Lines of Communication Open" inscribed in the ribbon and the words TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF LOCAL WIC directors surrounding the silhouette.

As an effort to increase the professional presentation and status of the organization, in 1999, the association voted to update the logo to the one that is currently in use. It is the State of Texas emblem with a star in the center and "TALWD" encircling the state emblem at the top and "Association of Local WIC Directors" encircling the bottom. The state emblem is in blue with the color fading from the top to the bottom. The Star is shaded with black and white.

From the inception of the organization until 2001, TALWD had the following committees:

Nutrition Education

Training

Breastfeeding

Food Delivery

Automation

Immunizations

Legislative

Marketing

Membership

In 2001, TALWD had a professional organization management consultant meet with the board of directors and it was recommended that the structure of the organization be changed to address the growth and the scope of subject areas being administered by the organization. The organizational structure then changed from one Vice President with all committees reporting to them to two Vice Presidents. All "TALWD Organization" committees would begin to report to the 1st Vice President of Organization and Development and all the "WIC" topic committees would begin to report to the 2nd Vice President of Program Operations. The number of committees was also reduced and committees with similar subject matter were consolidated. The 1st Vice President of Organization and Development would now have the committees of Business & Finance, Legislative, Marketing, and Membership reporting to them. The 2nd Vice President resided over the Nutrition Education, Breastfeeding, Client Services, and Local Agency Administration reporting to them.

Finances for the organization were a struggle in the early years as the only source of income came from membership dues and annual meeting registrations. In 1999, after paying the annual meeting bills, the Treasury balance was a little over $3,000. The President came us with the idea of TALWD sponsoring a well-known and remarkable nutrition speaker named Cathy Breeden, PhD to travel to 10 key locations in Texas in 2 weeks time and present a 7 hour nutrition workshop for WIC staff. The local agencies paid a registration fee for each person attending and CEUs and a light lunch were provided. The proved to be very successful. Additionally, a series of 5 seminars were presented with a phenomenal attorney named Katrina Grider presenting on employment law-the do's and don'ts. The was also a huge success and the treasury grew. The two series were presented again two years later with the same success and placed the organization on very solid financial footing.

Another major financial decision was made in 2005 when Linda Brumble at the State Agency asked TALWD to take over the financial management of funds gained from the fees that were being charged by the State Agency for Phase 1 and Phase 2 breastfeeding classes. TALWD agreed to do so with the understanding that TALWD would charge a 20% handling fee for all monies received. After a few years, Lina Brumble then requested that all funds that the State Agency held from the Breastfeeding seminars to turned over to TALWD and that TALWD would be the sole recipient of future funds. The handling fees from the Breastfeeding seminars combined with the previous financial earnings from the nutrition and employment law seminars placed TALWD in very strong financial status.

In 2010, TALWD established a scholarship fund with the American Dietetic Association (later to become The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) for two scholarships to be awarded annually to a Texas student studying in the field of nutrition. TALWD also established two $500 scholarships to be awarded annually for candidates taking the IBCLC exam in memory of Helen Sullivan who taught the Phase 1 and Phase 2 Breastfeeding classes for 20 years and passed away from cancer.

The State Directors that have overseen the operation of the WIC program have been:

Kathy Litteer

Dr. Harle (Interim)

Cecil Wuthrich

Dr. Allen (Interim)

Debra Stabeno

Dennis Bach

Mike Montgomery

Lyndsay Rodgers

Edgar Curtis

Since its beginnings in 1986, TALWD has matured into an organization that fosters communication with the State Agency and offers peer support for local directors. It is a vehicle for the expression of ideas on planning, policy, implementation and administration on the local. state, and federal level. The ultimate goal of TALWD is to positively affect the lives of women, infants, and children across the great State of Texas.