Win with WIC
Promise the Children advocates should press their federal legislators to fund WIC adequately so as to support all eligible mothers and children. We urge volunteer advocates to call or write their legislators and thank them for their support in the past and continue in the future.
Promise the Children sponsored a forum north of Boston about ending homelessness and invited a young pregnant mother with a four-year old child to speak about her experience. A single mom, Jane (a pen name) said that her mother had asked her to leave the apartment, and found that her friends could not accommodate her with a child and new baby on the way. Jane had no shelter so she moved into a back stairway in a public housing building. Fortunately, she soon found a housing advocate who located shelter, perhaps with a housing voucher. You may wonder how Jane could feed her family.
Perhaps she and her four-year-old were eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), because she had not yet earned $15,730 (100% of poverty line) in the year that she lost her job. WIC benefits include a book of checks or vouchers for certain foods to be used at specific stores. The vouchers cover the cost of healthy foods including eggs, milk, cheese, canned fish, vitamin-C fortified fruit and vegetable juices, infant and adult cereals, dried beans, tofu, whole-grain breads and peanut butter. In addition, vouchers are available to cover the cost of infant formula, when a Mom is not nursing the baby, and to cover the purchase of fresh local fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets.
What would happen without WIC? (A program initiated by the Feds in 1967)
- Jane might suffer malnutrition when pregnant, and give birth early, & the baby might die.
- The new baby and mom would probably suffer malnutrition risking illness to both.
- The four-year-old child might also suffer malnutrition causing unhealthy development that would likely damage her ability to adjust in preschool and kindergarten.