State WIC program has funding through October

Tri-City HeraldOctober 3, 2013 

Washington's Women, Infants, and Children food and nutrition program has funding to continue service through October, despite the federal government shutdown, said the Washington State Department of Health.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has reallocated money to cover the costs for the month, according to a news release from the state department.

The reprieve comes just in time for the state's WIC program, which had only enough remaining money to operate statewide until Wednesday, Oct. 9, the release said.

WIC provides nutrition assistance and health referrals along with breastfeeding support to pregnant and breastfeeding women and their children up to age 5, whose family income is at or below 185 percent of poverty level. The state Department of Health contracts with local health organizations and tribes to provide WIC services in all 39 counties in Washington. The program also authorizes certain grocery stores to accept WIC vouchers for the purchase of approved healthy foods.

If the federal government shutdown continues through this month, USDA will not have money to reallocate for services in November, and Washington WIC may not have funding to continue operations, the state health department said.

"WIC helps low-income families feed their children. We hope a budget will be passed and this important program can continue beyond Oct. 31," said Janet Jackson Charles, director of Nutrition Services at the Washington State Department of Health, in a release.

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