Photo Video
Prev
Shutdown threatens WIC program Infant mortality hot spots located
Next

WIC program: Government shutdown imperils food, health benefits for 19,000 in Hamilton County

a a a a
Share this story

CINCINNATI - The federal government shutdown is giving 19,000 Hamilton County residents a real reason to worry.

They are clients of the WIC program, whose funding runs out at the end of the month without congressional action.

WIC stands for women, infants and children and operates in 11 Hamilton County locations like the Northside Health Center.

WIC is a food, nutrition and education program serving pregnant women, women who have given birth within six months and are breast feeding, plus families with children under five.

The cost is $3 million a year, and that's in jeopardy right now.

Patricia Thomas came in for her WIC appointment in Roselawn on Wednesday, thankful for the assistance she gets for her and her 2-year-son Dominic.

"It's real tough because you don't know if you're working, if you're not working, if you're just waiting on things,” Patricia Thomas said.

WIC vouchers average $40 a month for nutritious food so Dominic grows up strong and healthy.

"It helps with the milk that he drinks and the cereal that he eats in the morning and the juice, and it helps with the calories and everything so the kids aren't overweight," Patricia Thomas said.

Right now, the program is running on supplemental funds to carry it over until Congress ends its stalemate.

"If there's not any decisions made by Oct. 31, WIC will cease,” Director Betsy Buchanan said.  “There will be no more and there's not really a program that can take its place."

Buchanan said she is worried about the impact that would have on the people who need help the most.

"The clients will no longer be able to use their supplement vouchers,” Buchanan said.  “They won't be able to come in for their appointments so we can give them the nutritional education, so we can refer them to doctors and immunizations."

And what happens to WIC's 45 employees?

“They’re out of a job basically,” Buchanan said.

The prospect of losing WIC resources is causing Patricia Thomas some sleepless nights.

All she wants is for Dominic to have a fighting chance to succeed in life.

"It's going to be hard out there,” Patricia Thomas said.  “You don't know when your next meal is going to come for your baby.”

Thomas and Buchanan have come up some words of wisdom for Congress.

  "Just hurry up and make a decision and come to an agreement to make things right for the economy," Thomas said.

Buchanan said she would tell lawmakers that WIC is money well spent.

“Take a look at what the WIC program does and see that it is worth every dollar spent and it is helpful and it is needed because of the education, because of the foods that the parents get," Buchanan said.

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Print this article

Comments

Hmm... It looks like you’re not a WCPO Insider. or Subscribe now to contribute!

More Local News
Police: Missing teen may be with Milford man
Police: Missing teen may be with Milford man

Police believe a 28-year-old man from the Milford area may have information about the whereabouts of a missing southwest Ohio teenager.

Homer Bailey, Reds win again at Wrigley, 8-2
Homer Bailey, Reds win again at Wrigley, 8-2

Homer Bailey pitched six scoreless innings at friendly Wrigley Field for his first win of the season and Jay Bruce homered and…

One death saves six lives, creates family bonds
One death saves six lives, creates family bonds

A liver. For him. Finally. A groggy Don Van Zant glanced at the clock when he picked up the phone Oct. 10, 2012. His life was saved as others…

Driver in Evendale high-speed chase identified
Driver in Evendale high-speed chase identified

What started out as a traffic stop turned into a serious crash that closed a part of Glendale-Milford Road early Sunday morning.

Police ID man found shot to death in Avondale
Police ID man found shot to death in Avondale

Cincinnati police released the identity of the man they found shot to death in the 3100 block of Reading Road Sunday.

Jimmy Gibson cooks up 'food with no attitude'
Jimmy Gibson cooks up 'food with no attitude'

At the helm of his namesake eatery Jimmy G's, Gibson entered his profession for the love of food and found a foodie following in the Tri-State.

Crews continue search for clues in Markham case
Crews continue search for clues in Markham case

Searchers once again combed through a tree-covered creek bed in eastern Indiana on Saturday trying to find the clues they need to answer the…

10 types of beards you'll see in the Tri-State
10 types of beards you'll see in the Tri-State

Is it just us, or are beards (and other forms of facial hair) making a comeback in the Tri-State? WCPO decided to explore the issue.…

LifeSpring Christian: 3 churches, one mission
LifeSpring Christian: 3 churches, one mission

In this week's "Where We Pray," learn about a local church that combines the mission and resources of a large congregation with…

Cincy kids author turns science into adventure
Cincy kids author turns science into adventure

Many a parent and teacher have tried to bring science alive for children. Writer Mary Kay Carson aims to bring lessons to life by injecting…