The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) helps around 8.2 million women and their families access healthy foods, health care, nutrition education, and breastfeeding assistance and advice. WIC is an incredibly helpful and successful program for struggling moms and their families. The National WIC Association states that numerous studies show that WIC is effective and helps reduce premature births, fetal and infant deaths, increases access to prenatal care earlier in pregnancy, increases immunization rates, and improves diet quality, including reducing rates of childhood obesity.
As Congress comes back to Washington, D.C. next week they will be considering multiple measures that could affect the funding and coverage of WIC, including the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act and a large budget and appropriations deal. It is imperative that WIC is not only protected from funding cuts, but continues to be lifted up as a positive program that so many pregnant women, moms, infants, and children depend on.
Below you will find stories from moms and dads who have been boosted by WIC over the years:
“Whether we choose to be single parents or not (I personally did not choose this path but 'life happens,' whether we like it or not) we have to survive many obstacles. I have a Master's Degree and currently have a job that pays me well enough to cover the expenses of raising a child on my own without any government support. However, this was not always the case. Chicago took a devastating hit from the economy and jobs were scarce from 2008-2011. I was laid off and unemployed for some time, like many others in this country. I still had to raise my daughter and teach her that women are important in this country and we can persevere, even in lean times. I struggled very much but was aided with benefits such as WIC and All Kids healthcare (IL Medicaid program). If it weren't for these programs, I am not sure we would have survived those brutal winters where mommy did not have income and daddy's minimal child support wasn't enough to cut it. These programs helped my daughter and I through the darkest time of my life and I was always secure in knowing she would be fed and have good healthcare. I utilized these programs temporarily until I was back on my feet. I never abused these programs and I looked forward to the day we no longer needed them. I am ever so grateful they were available when we did need them. These programs saved our lives.”
Brandi-Niagara Falls, NY
“The WIC program was instrumental in helping me to breastfeed my baby and still go to work. Without the loan of their double electric pump I would not have been able to feed my daughter in the way that she needed for an entire year. There was no way I would've been able to afford a pump on my own. The more women who are encouraged and supported in their breastfeeding efforts will decrease their costs, as taxpayers will not have to foot the bill for the formula. I'm deeply grateful for their assistance with the pump, their breastfeeding support, and with food supplies. Cuts to programs like WIC will impact poor mothers in my city and across the nation. “
“I am a former WIC recipient. WIC educated me on nutrition and supported me in breastfeeding, and now, my children are not obese. They love vegetables, in fact. I received therapy for post-natal depression at my community mental health center through a WIC referral. I am very healthy, and so is my family. Today, I'm working towards launching two different companies, one of which is currently searching to hire its first employee. That's right: I'm creating jobs! And paying taxes. Lots of taxes. None of my success would be possible without WIC. I eagerly pay taxes to support these programs for the next generation of young people. Using the money for other purposes, instead of focusing on the health and security of young Americans is just wrong.”
“The WIC program was a great boon to us when my wife was first pregnant and remains so to this day. WIC has allowed us to live in a safer neighborhood and live a fuller, healthier life. Do not take funding away or change these programs. Change your spending priorities to help and grow programs like WIC. This is smart spending, not wasted."
Jasmine-South Bend, IN
“Every day I worry whether or not my family will have food. We've cut down so much on things that aren't of much importance. With rent being so high and other bills that keep rolling in, I wonder if we'll ever get out of the hole. Due to medical issues I'm unable to work so our money comes from my husband's job and child support. It's a fight to survive every month and the programs available, such as WIC, are VERY important and essential to us. Not everybody has a high-paying job or everything handed down to them from wealthy families. This problem is real and Congress needs to realize that we, among millions of others, need as much help as we can get.”
“I never thought I would be in a position to use WIC or to have a child in the Medicaid Program. In 2011, we had a business involved with the construction industry and when we realized that would no longer support our family, we needed to act fast. Thank goodness we were able to access community programs while we redirected our careers. We have since found jobs in other areas and no longer use WIC. Had it not been for access to the programs currently subject to budget cuts our family would have gone under.”
“At the time I became pregnant (2008) I was working at a job with no healthcare benefits, nor could I afford to buy coverage. The Medicaid coverage allowed me to be able to go to the doctor, receive proper prenatal care, and deliver in the hospital. During my pregnancy, my asthma became increasingly worse and without the care of my doctor, both my unborn child and I would have had serious complications. WIC was also a blessing to me as it was the only way I could afford a breast-pump, let alone, extra grocery help. To get rid of these programs would truly be detrimental to women and children of lower incomes. “