WIC food program in jeopardy following shutdown - New York News

WIC food program in jeopardy following shutdown

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PHOENIX -

The government shutdown has a lot of unintended consequences. People who receive WIC, or welfare checks, may not get that assistance.

Michelle Pasley receives help from WIC, a federal food program that helps struggling families put nutritious food on the table.

They give you a voucher, and it lists very specifically what you can get based on your family, like a dozen eggs, milk, bread. But the WIC food program is now in jeopardy.

You've probably never noticed the word WIC placed near certain products at the grocery store -- unless you're looking for it.

"Peanut butter, milk, cheese, eggs, bread, juice," says Pasley.

Michelle Pasley is one of thousands of moms who look for the WIC sign on food products. She receives WIC vouchers monthly to help feed her family.

The federally funded program provides women with children who qualify financially to receive vouchers every month for certain items.

Some 80,000 women and children are on Arizona's WIC program. Pasley says it is a significant part of her household.

"Right now I depend on WIC mainly for my staples," she says.

When the federal government shut down Monday night, WIC families stopped receiving their vouchers.

For Pasley, who has a 16-month-old daughter and 7-year-old son, that will take a serious bite out of her food budget.

"It's going to affect me because I'm going to have to spend these things out of pocket now, whether it be cash or food stamps or however."

While she worries how they will get by, she says there are other WIC families who will be devastated by the loss of food vouchers.

"I think the people who are going to be hit hardest are people who are under the age of 12 months because the formula WIC pays for formula, and a lot of kids have special formula."

80,000 women, infants and children under 5 rely on WIC for food in our state.

Some sources are telling us that the WIC program in Arizona will remain up and running with funds coming in at the last minute from another source.

I called a WIC office in Phoenix today, and the woman who answered told me they are still taking appointments, so Arizona is not a state that's shutting down WIC offices in this crisis.

Some of the services that will not be affected by the shutdown -- air travel will continue as normal with air traffic controllers staying on the job -- active duty military members will continue to collect paychecks -- meat inspections will go on -- social security and Medicare checks will still be sent -- and the post office will stay open.

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