Health/Science
4:46 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

WIC Staying Open For Now

Credit Amy Tardif

The US Department of Agriculture says on its website that no additional federal funds are available to support the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children or WIC during the government shutdown. What does that could mean for the more than 490,000 Floridians in the program?

WIC offices were open on Tuesday in southwest Florida and officials say they’ll stay open as they monitor the situation. The USDA’s contingency plan says states may have some funds available from other sources to continue WIC operations for a week or so, but not too much longer.

WIC is a federally funded nutrition program for low income pregnant women, new mothers and children up to age five. It gives them healthy food and provides nutrition information, breastfeeding support and referrals for health care.

Katie, who is the single mom of a 3-month-old son in south Fort Myers, received her WIC vouchers Tuesday. She was dismayed at the prospect of the office closing. She said her son goes through a 16 dollar can of formula every two days.

“I just went and cashed my week check and it cost 70 dollars for five cans. They help me out a lot with formula. I get 9 cans a month. But they just switched it to ten cans. My son will be 4 months the 14th. So it’s going to be kind of hard trying to figure out how to get the formula by myself,” said Katie.

Katie said she doesn’t qualify for food stamps so WIC helps a lot. She also gets food like milk, cereal and eggs. She returns for her next vouchers in December, hoping the budget situation is settled by then. Otherwise she said she will have to turn to her mother for help.