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WIC Benefits Frozen
A source of food for low-income families is one of the latest causalities of the government shutdown.
As we first reported last night, benefits for the WIC program have been frozen, effective today, the 9th day of the shutdown.
Those who qualify for WIC would normally cash in vouchers for food staples, but right now those vouchers are frozen and people are worried about feeding their children.
For Cindy Richman the government shutdown is personal. Her daughter, a single mom on only child support, "my daughter and my 3 grandchildren live with me."
She says they rely on the WIC program that provides food vouchers for babies in low income families.
Her daughter doesn't want her face shown, but her voice heard now that the last vouchers have been handed out.
"I'm really concerned because it takes it from my kids. WIC's what covers most of the formula and the milk."
Because of the impasse in Washington the last vouchers were handed out Tuesday.
Cindy Richman, family relies on WIC program, "it's pitiful that congress will go after a program that children need."
Lee Lillard, Jackson Co. WIC director, "these vouchers will be redeemable through the month of October. After that we've not heard that they won;t be redeemable after October we just can't print anymore after yesterday."
Paula Carden, Jackson Co. Health director, "we're hoping and assuming that November 1st we're going to be good to go again, but nobody had said definite."
Jackson County's health director says in her nearly 30 years this is the first time she's seen WIC vouchers frozen, "so it impacts roughly about 960 Jackson County residents."
Paula Carden says the financial assistance adds up. Babies up to 6 months getting 9 cans of formula a month, at $15 each, and she worries especially about babies born after Tuesday's cut-off.
She says they're referring families to churches, and local food banks, already low on supplies.
Health officials are telling clients to use their vouchers through the month and to keep their WIC appointments so the paperwork is done. They say that will speed up the mailing of vouchers when the shutdown is over.
Cindy Richman's message to politicians, "get back into their jobs and settle it."
Health officials say despite the shutdown, new applicants should go ahead and apply so their certification can be determined and ready to go once the shutdown is over.