WIC Could Be Hit Hard With Government Shutdown


By Paul Johnson

UPDATE: From Health And Welfare in Boise:

The Idaho Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) has received contingency and reallocation funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture so it can continue to honor vouchers and offer clinical services through the end of October.

In Idaho, WIC has about 43,000 participants, who each receive a monthly voucher for an average of $50.

If the federal shutdown lasts longer than a month, benefits and services for the Idaho WIC program could be temporarily disrupted. If this happens, DHW will provide information so program participants and partners can make plans for an interruption of benefits or services.

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - One program that will be hit hard pretty soon is WIC, Woman- Infants and Children. The WIC program says it has enough money to last through the week to help low income mothers feed their babies.
Luckily, the WIC checks went out Tuesday for about $50 a family. That has to last a mother the whole entire month.

The WIC program helps mothers buy basic foods like cheese, milk and cereal for their baby.
Tom Shanahan with The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare says that if the shutdown lasts longer than a week they think they'll be out of money by Monday.
"Next week if they don't reverse the shutdown then we are going to have to stop clinic services for the WIC participants and ask grocers not to accept the WIC vouchers," Shanahan said.

Right now there are about 42,500 mothers and babies in Idaho on WIC. The state is encouraging women to make sure they qualify for the SNAP program also known as food stamps if the program loses funding next week. But with all the cut backs some wonder why WIC.
"The parks at this point they close for the season anyway. They'll get reopened, but this is something by Monday we'll have for a week," Ashlee Leatham said.

Single mom Sayshelle Marquez said, "It will affect me but I also have my food stamps that I could rely on for formula for my baby. It's going to be hard but I can get through it."

The Department of Health and Welfare is also telling mothers to look into food banks and their health district for options if they are short of food throughout the month.

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