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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • WIC good through end of month

  • While the federal government shutdown enters its second week, the hiatus has yet to disrupt this area's government funded nutrition programs for women, infants and children (WIC).
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  • While the federal government shutdown enters its second week, the hiatus has yet to disrupt this area's government funded nutrition programs for women, infants and children (WIC).
    However, time is running out.
    According to Phelps/Maries County Health Department Administrator Jodi Waltman, the department received notice from the state of Missouri that it will continue to serve recipients of the special supplemental nutrition program for WIC through the end of October.
    "The state of Missouri's WIC program saved money and held it in case of a shutdown," said Waltman. "If the shutdown lasts longer, patients will lose services."
    WIC supplies low-income women with checks or debit cards that can be used for infant formula and cereal, fruits and vegetables, dairy items and other healthy food. WIC also provides breast-feeding support and nutrition classes. Women with children under age 5 are eligible.
    Just before the shutdown, the U.S. Department of Agriculture had warned that states would run out of WIC cash after a "week or so."
    Now the agency says WIC should be able to provide benefits through late October, with states using $100 million in federal contingency money released last Wednesday and $280 million in unspent funds from the last budget year.
    According to Waltman, the local WIC office conducts more than 1,500 visits a month. She added that her office has had a successful breastfeeding program that has increased breastfeeding rates.
    "We are in the upper 10 percent for breastfeeding initiation and duration in the state," she added. "Breastfeeding is healthier for the infant and mother and saves tax dollars. It is sad that a nutrition program with successful outcomes and cost effectiveness is at risk due to political disagreements."
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