Council Bluffs (KPTM)-
Low-income mothers, pregnant women, babies and young children who rely on government assistance to purchase food could see their help cut off now that the government is shut down.
Nearly 9 million mothers and children receive benefits under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The federal program gives grants to states for supplemental food, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant women, new mothers, and to infants and children up to age five who are nutritionally at risk. The program serves 53 percent of all infants born in the U.S.
"It scares me because my kids need milk." Said Laci Leslie of Council Bluffs, who has two boys under the age of five who receive benefits from WIC. She is due with another boy in two weeks.
"You have to use your food stamps and learn to re-budget for food," said Leslie.
Leslie and other mothers who rely on WIC in Iowa will not receive benefits until the government shutdown is resolved.
"The longer they are shut down, the longer I have to worry," said Leslie.
Since the government partially shut down at Midnight on Oct. 1, however, its funding has dried out. The Department of Agriculture (USDA), which oversees the program, noted in a memo last week without congressional approval of new spending, there won't be any funding available for WIC's clinical services, food benefits or administrative costs.