Thursday, October 3, 2013

WIC users safe from shutdown, for now

Posted By on Thu, Oct 3, 2013 at 12:58 PM

The Spokane Regional Health District announced today that the national Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, which provides food assistance to low-income women and children 5 years old and younger, has found temporary funding to continue paying benefits through the end of October.

That means local participants in the program can continue using their WIC checks through the end of the month. If the shutdown lasts longer than that, future effects remain unknown.

Nationwide, nearly 9 million women and children receive nutrition counseling and help purchasing healthy foods through the program.

Here's SRHD's full announcement:  

Despite the government shutdown that ceased funding for Spokane Regional Health District’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program earlier this week, and put nearly 20,000 vulnerable mothers and young children locally at risk of losing critical nutrition and health care services, the national WIC program yesterday announced a new source of temporary funding through October. This means clients are still able to continue using their WIC checks at local grocery stores without interruption this month.

Federally, WIC received an allocation of food funds from U.S. Department of Agriculture/Food and Nutrition Service (USDA) to cover food costs for the month of October. With that allocation, the state WIC office can use its 2013 spend-forward dollars to cover state WIC employees and local staff at clinics like those operated by SRHD, through the month.

State WIC programs continue to operate in an environment of uncertainty with regard to November and beyond if congress does not enact a budget before the end of the month. The health and well-being of Spokane’s families are still at stake. WIC staff are operating under the assumption, and hope, that the shutdown will be resolved soon. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell are Washington state's senators, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers represents Spokane County. For more information about our congressional representatives and how to contact them please see the following web sites:

U.S. Senate -

U.S. House of Representatives -

When new information is available we will share it with you as quickly as we can. Thanks for your support of your local WIC offices.

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About The Author

Heidi Groover

Heidi Groover is a staff writer at the Inlander, where she covers city government and drug policy. On the job, she's spent time with prostitutes, "street kids," marriage equality advocates and the family of a 16-year-old organ donor...