WIC Program at Risk – Congress Must Act to Fund Program Essential to Military Families
We all know that military life can come with its share of financial challenges. Frequent PCS moves, persistent spouse unemployment, and unexpected expenses all add up, sometimes making it hard for families to put healthy food on the table. Luckily, there are resources to help families get through periods of financial hardship. One of the most valuable of these programs is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, commonly known as WIC.
WIC offers nutrition support for pregnant and nursing mothers, as well as children up to age 5. The program provides foods such as bread, cereal, eggs, cheese, and baby formula to eligible families. Participants also are given vouchers to purchase healthy foods such as fruit and vegetables and receive nutrition counseling and breastfeeding support. Enrollment in WIC has been shown to promote infant and child health outcomes, including decreasing infant mortality and low birth weight.
Think you’re not eligible for WIC? Think again!
Unlike other nutrition support programs such as SNAP, WIC does not include BAH when determining eligibility, so many military families with young children will qualify. We’ve been pleased to see outreach efforts at installations across the country to let families know about WIC and help them apply. And we know it’s making a difference. Military families tell us that the WIC program has helped them to provide their children with healthy foods, life-saving access to formula, and the benefit of nutritional education and support.
WIC Program at Risk
However, this essential program is at risk. Unlike in previous years, Congress has not yet acted to fully fund WIC. The Biden Administration has requested $1.4 billion dollars to keep the program operating and ensure that all eligible families can participate.
If Congress does not appropriate the funds, states will be forced to cut WIC benefits or create waiting lists.
This is unacceptable. All families should have the security of knowing that their children have enough to eat, and this is especially true of military families, who serve and sacrifice so much. We know WIC is working to help young military families thrive. Congress must act now to secure the funds to continue this much-needed program.
Has your military family benefited from WIC? Share your story with us!