Women, Infants, and children are at risk
WRIC News is warning Virginians that a government shutdown would affect 127,000 families receiving assistance from WIC the supplemental Women, Infant, and Children's program. Benefits could be lost in a matter of days if the government does not come to some type of agreement.
The goal of the WIC program is to improve the health of pregnant women, infants, and children under 5 years of age. Sadly there are no alternative programs in Virginia that can immediately assist WIC recipients in an emergency situation. Meanwhile, the elected officials will not lose sleep, miss meals, or have to look at hungry children if they cannot come to an agreement.
The least of these will suffer
WIC assists families through better access to health care and nutrition. WIC provides supplemental nutritious foods like milk, eggs, peanut butter, infant cereal, iron-fortified adult cereal, cheese, vitamin C-rich fruit or vegetable juice, dried and canned beans/peas, and canned fish.
The Supplemental Women Infants and Children's program also provides breastfeeding promotion and support, education, and counseling at WIC clinics as well "as screening and referrals to other health, welfare, and social services".
Those who are the most needy will suffer
Sarah Steely, Director of No Kid Hungry Virginia told WRIC that a loss of WIC benefits would impact new mothers, and nursing children and prevent families from obtaining fresh produce, milk, and formula. She added:
“No family should have to make a choice between buying food or paying a medical bill, or buying food and keeping the lights on and I think we’ll see some of those tradeoffs come to the surface if this happens,”
Hopefully, the government will work things out because the most vulnerable among us are at risk without anything in place to assist them.