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Suspend WIC-Label Restrictions During COVID-19
To Leadership and Legislators in the time of COVID-19,
We have been hearing reports (
) that recipients of the Womens, Infants, Children (WIC) program have been unable to obtain the authorized food items due to limited inventory at many grocery stores across the country right now during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In normal times, a WIC recipient can use their WIC funds to shop any WIC-labeled item in a grocery store. However, these are not normal times, and empty shelves and limited inventory are a reality many shoppers are finding in grocery stores throughout our country. For a WIC-family, this means shopping from a limited inventory AND a limited list. In short: If a WIC-labeled item is out of stock, a WIC-family is out of luck.
We appreciate the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (
) for its $500 million allocation to provide access to nutritious foods to low-income pregnant women or mothers with young children who lose their jobs or are laid off due to the COVID-19 emergency, but we do not believe additional funding alone is enough.
Though more money helps, we must also reduce the burden of finding WIC-approved food when there are shortages on the shelves. We are asking that WIC-labeled food requirements be temporarily suspended, allowing families to more easily shop whatever healthy foods that are available in store.
We — as women and mothers — are often at the front lines of our families’ health and wellbeing, and that begins with access to nutritious food. In fact, many of the women who have signed this letter have relied on WIC themselves when pregnant or when raising young children.
We know first hand how important access to food is for families. We are writing to urge you to remove WIC restrictions and ensure that no WIC recipient leaves a store empty handed because of pre-pandemic restrictions and empty shelves.
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