Salt Lake County has found a way to keep formula and nutritious food available to moms and babies in need despite the shutdown of the federal government. Funding for the Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC) was provided by an emergency vote of the County Council Tuesday to the tune of $137,500 - enough to buy a week’s worth of food and supplies for 25,000 needy women and children within the County for one week.
WIC provides vouchers on a monthly basis for qualified women to purchase infant formula as well as fruits, vegetables, milk, bread and eggs. Recipients will not be able to get vouchers through normal channels, but the county is purchasing items and making them available at local food banks. Salt Lake County WIC Clinics will also remain open.
The Council voted 7-1 to fund the purchase. The only dissenting vote came from Council Member David Wilde-R. He said he thought the shutdown would be short-lived and the Council should wait until the following week to find out “if it truly becomes and emergency.” He expressed the hope that “charitable-minded individuals and groups out there” would step up and fill the gap. Democratic Council Members Sam Granato and Randy Horiuchi were not at the meeting and did not vote.
The Council will consider dipping into reserves if the shutdown continues into next week. WIC provides assistance for around 66,000 needy Utah mothers and children. Council Member Max Burdick-R said, “This is about mothers and their children in a time of need. If ever there’s a time for us to step up, it’s now.”
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Source: Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News, FOX 13 News, Salt Lake County Council, WIC