WIC: More than a check, it's a village every mother and child need
Is this seriously up for debate? Does the necessity of WIC really need to be justified? Who questions whether or not support, matter of fact community support, is needed?!
I remember... I remember being six months pregnant, college graduate, laid off from a high-paying medical sales career, talking amongst a group of mothers and being told about the resources available to me and my unborn. I was always hungry, but didn't have enough money to purchase more healthy foods to consume. I had so many questions, not enough answers, so I wobbled my pregnant self into my nearest WIC office. A bit unsure, I felt. It was said WIC is for the poor, it’s for the lazy, it's for those trying to take advantage of the system and who want to live on welfare their whole lives. I was embarrassed about my situation, being a pregnant single mother; but not too embarrassed to starve and not enough to not ask for help.
As soon as I stepped in, I was greeted with a friendly hello. Aesthetically the place and decor was ok, yet it definitely didn’t scream "only for the poor and lazy." Heck, I was there and I definitely don’t classify myself as such. The employees were dressed professionally and handled me with great customer service. I was seen quickly and I took notice that the process was efficient. There were smiles everywhere including from the individual I was assigned to, Adelina; she was perfect.
We discussed many things: my pregnancy, my health, my birthing plan, breastfeeding. We shared with such enthusiasm our personal stories as she sought ways to relate to me, to engage with me, to ensure me that she was here to support and encourage me. I left feeling informed and appreciated every time I walked in and out of there. Every breastfeeding support group, I was present. Every handout, I read. It soon became apparent to me, WIC wasn’t just about picking up checks for food and it wasn’t just for those looking for a handout; it’s about providing the village that every mother and child need to prosper and become a contributing citizen.
As I progressed through my pregnancy and even after delivery as an informed woman and mother, I felt courageous, I felt strong. I had knowledge, and with that knowledge came my power, which transcended into every aspect of my life. With that power, I began advocating for women of all walks of life, and sharing the same resources and information that were given to me; this birthed World Breastfeeding Week 2013 – NoHo, which gathered over 100 people at the park to become just as empowered, healthy and supported. I was back on my feet and making moves.
So I speak for all the mothers, who like me, are in need of support, who are in need of resources, who are in need of family. It isn't just me, it's we; and We Need WIC. So I ask you, do you need support? Do you need resources? Do you need family? If yes to any of these questions, then you NEED WIC!