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Lack of Funding For Food Assistance Could Mean Less Support For Struggling Parents

Not funding the WIC program can mean a struggle for new parents to feed their children and themselves in the wake of rising food prices.

February 13, 2024

A federal program providing nutritional support to pregnant women, parents, and children is experiencing a shortage of funding.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) enables new parents to buy nutritious food for themselves and their children. Besides this, the program also offers counseling to women on breastfeeding and the benefits of formula milk for infants.
According to the State Department of Health, the WIC program serves more than 425,000 recipients in New York.

USDA revealed that the program would cost $6.3 Billion in 2024. However, government officials are looking for an additional $1 Billion in funding to continue because of the rising food costs and an increase in the number of WIC Participants.

The lack of funding can kick off 2 Million parents and young children. Christie Finch, the director of perinatal programs at Mothers & Babies Perinatal Network in Johnson City, oversees an organization that links families and new parents in the Southern Tier with various services.

Finch notes that most parents assisted by their community health workers are eligible for WIC (Women, Infants, and Children program). However, since WIC benefits are intended to be supplemental, families often face challenges in bridging the gap to meet their complete needs. Finch has observed that rising costs have made it increasingly difficult for families to fill this gap.

Finch said, “Families are desperate, sometimes they water down their formula to make ends meet, sometimes they go longer times in between [feedings]. For the families that we work with, we… obviously advise against that. And we try to help them find other ways that they can supplement their budgets.”

Previous studies have revealed that WIC benefits have led to a decrease in premature births and infant deaths including savings in health care costs. Local programs provide benefits to eligible families real quick but people might have to wait longer if the program does not receive funding.

Democrats on the House Committee are pushing for an agreement to fully fund the WIC program.

Gillibrand said, “With grocery prices still high and maternal and infant mortality on the rise, now is not the time to be further disrupting critical nutrition assistance programs for the most vulnerable Americans”.

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The content provided in this article draws inspiration and includes quotes from various reputable sources, including news articles, government data, and interviews. Affordable Housing 411 strives to ensure accuracy and credibility, but the information presented may be based on some external sources. We encourage readers to refer to the referenced materials for more in-depth insights and verification.

Vuolo Taylor Phoebe. “Shortfall of federal funding for food assistance could mean less support for struggling parents”. WSKG, February 13, 2024,
Shortfall of federal funding for food assistance could mean less support for struggling parents (wskg.org)

Last Updated: September 20, 2021