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WIC Program in jeopardy from shutdown
The government shutdown may impact a program that millions of families rely on for healthy food options.
Roughly 9-million low income women and their children nationwide take part in the program known as "WIC".
The concerns of a local woman, and how losing WIC will affect her.
"Here at the Escambia County Health Department, the WIC check-in area is usually bustling with activity. Thousands of people in our area using WIC services, and the government shutdown can put all of that in jeopardy"
More than 11,000 Escambia County residents take part in the WIC program.
2700 of them are infants.
"WIC was a life saver"
For Lucinda Eidenier, the WIC program has helped daughter, and now her grand-daughter lead a healthier life.
She admits, if their WIC vouchers are cut because of the government shutdown, it would be devastating.
"Who can afford to go spend 13 to 14 dollars on a can of formula, and you have to buy anywhere from 9 to 10 of those a month"
WIC vouchers can only be spent on approved healthy foods including bread, milk, fresh fruits and vegetables.
In a single month, an average of half a million dollars worth of WIC vouchers are redeemed in Escambia County.
"It's very expensive, and if anything happens to the WIC program I don't know what a lot of people are going to do."
The government shut down has the potential to cut critical funding needed by the WIC program.
Each state handles their WIC program differently.
Florida currently has enough money in its reserves to continue WIC funding, At least for the time being.
As the government shutdown continues, Lucinda feels congress should consider the people impacted by their decisions....
"I don't think they've considered the little people, I really don't"
...because roughly 9-million families like hers, hang in the balance.
"If they touch WIC // it's really going to hurt"
"The Florida Department of Health says it's monitoring the shutdown in Washington, but expects to continue WIC services for the foreseeable future.
As for Alabama, the Department of Health says it will be able to fund its WIC programs through the month of October.