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Government Shutdown May Affect WIC Program
The government shutdown is affecting millions of people across the U.S. Many federal workers are worried about the future of their jobs, while others are worried about not being able to feed their families.
A week ago the federal government stopped funding to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, also known as WIC.
The Illinois Department of Human Services says they will continue funding WIC through October, but after, its future is unclear.
"The government shutdown really does scare people," said former WIC recipient Hollie Morgen. "I know I can be afraid because I am in public housing, so it's scary."
Millions of low-income mothers and their infants rely on the WIC program, which provides healthy food, breast feeding support, and infant formula.
"I'm spending $10 a week on milk, and after 30 days that $10 adds up, so WIC actually helps a lot especially for those who don't have jobs," said Morgen.
The WIC program helps more than 280,000 families in the state of Illinois and nearly 20,000 families here in central Illinois.
Since the program is 100 percent federally funded, there are many families hoping it will stay that way.
"Because we are federally funded, we are affected by the fact that there isn't a budget right now," said state WIC Director Penny Roth. "The USDA provides the funding for the program and they were able to provide additional funding through October."
Although the additional funding is helping now, Roth says only time will tell if that funding will continue.
"I'm hopeful that there will be a solution to the budget crisis, and the Department of Human Service staff is discussing what will happen in the future, but I'm hoping that this will get solved," said Roth.
Health officials said business is going on as usual when it comes to the WIC program, and they are still encouraging residents to sign up.
As for funding after October, Roth said there is still plenty of time to discuss the future of WIC.
If you would like more information on WIC, click here.