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WIC Food Program Could Be At Risk If Partial Government Shutdown Continues

Shutdown Is Expected To Continue Into 2019

Groceries at the checkout line
Molly (CC-BY-NC-ND)

As a partial federal shutdown is expected to continue into 2019, WIC, a food program for low-income mothers and children in Wisconsin, could be at risk.

If the federal shutdown lasts beyond several weeks, money to buy basic foods like milk, bread and beans might be cut off, said Sue Marshall, director of Dane County’s arm of the federal program.

Roughly 98,000 low-income women and children in Wisconsin get groceries through WIC. The state Department of Human Services receives the grant money from the federal government and disperses funds to individual counties.

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“It (would) really (impact) a lot of families who are really the most in need of those extra foods that help provide a staple for them to get through,” Marshall said.

According to DHS, it has enough funds to keep families fed for several weeks. After that, Marshall said her staff will send families to food banks.

“We would be doing a lot of work around that … getting the word out (about) other, like food pantries and stuff, that they might be able to access, as well as working with the food pantries to let them know that this has happened,” she said.

Marshall said grocers in Dane County alone earned nearly $3 million from WIC last year. Annually, the state receives about $90 million in federal funds for the program.