Take Action for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program

Funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC) is facing an urgent threat this week as the Senate takes up the appropriation bills, but no additional funding has been added to WIC.

WIC has a stellar record of improving health and relieving hunger and malnutrition for decades. WIC is more than a nutrition program; it is the gateway to health care for millions of low-income mothers and young children, providing parental and pediatric care. However, both the House and Senate Agriculture markups reported out of the Appropriations Committee fail to meet the long-standing bipartisan agreement (since 1997) that WIC should be funded at a level that protects all eligible pregnant and postpartum women, infants and young children who apply, so that no parents and children are forced onto waiting lists. With the currently proposed Senate bill, 600,000 young children and new parents could be turned away. Additionally, the House Appropriations Committee recently proposed cutting the amount of fruits and vegetables provided by WIC by 56% for children and 70% for pregnant and postpartum mothers. These cuts would reverse years of success. Higher funding is required due to greater-than-projected participation and food costs.

The current proposals will exacerbate food insecurity, undermine efforts to build healthier outcomes for the next generations, and be detrimental to the well-being of millions of mothers and children. Moreover, the poverty rate doubled in the past year, especially for children, due to a deliberate policy choice allowing expiration and cuts to federal aid programs. In Washington state, an estimate of 11,700 people would be turned away under this Senate or House Bill and 91,400 people would be cut from fruit and vegetable benefits. It is crucial for us, people of faith and conscience to make a swift and strong response to our Senators and Representatives to advocate for sufficient funding to protect eligible women and children. Our voice as collective faith communities can make a difference.

Find more information about WIC on these web pages:

·     WIC Program Overview and History | National WIC Association (nwica.org)

·     Policy Basics: Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (cbpp.org)

·     600,000 Young Children and New Parents Could Be Turned Away Unless Congress Adheres to a 25-Year Bipartisan Commitment to Fully Fund WIC | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (cbpp.org)

Action Steps You Can Take Today

Use our letter template to ask Senator Patty Murray (Senate Appropriations Chair), Senator Maria Cantwell, and your Representative to ensure that Congress is not shortchanging the commitment to equal and just access to WIC. Please take a moment to personalize your letter with a story about yourself or single mothers and families you know who would be negatively affected by the underfunding of WIC.

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