WIC benefits are distributed at the first of the month and may be the only time participants can stock up on healthy food.

Lauren Wicks
April 01, 2020
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We don't have to tell you we're living in tough times right now. More than three million people filed for unemployment over the past few weeks and many families who rely on schools to nourish their children are having to stretch their budget even more than normal. Depleted grocery store shelves are also leaving certain families on federal assistance programs without access to healthy food.

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Rep. Linda Sánchez shared a post over the weekend encouraging people who aren't part of the WIC program to avoid the grocery store between April 1-3 to allow beneficiaries to have access to the healthy food they need, since they receive their benefits at the beginning of the month.

WIC stands for Women, Infants and Children and is a federal assistance program that is part of SNAP. This program supports pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding women, as well as infants and children under the age of five.

WIC provides funds for specific foods with a WIC label that support the nutritional needs of mothers and children. The program has proven to support healthy pregnancies, offer a greater likelihood of receiving prenatal care and reduce lower birth weights and infant deaths. Learn more about the WIC program, here.

We previously encouraged readers to avoid purchasing products with WIC labels during the coronavirus pandemic if you are not on the program, as funds given to WIC participants can only be used on products with these labels. "Doomsday shoppers" who are stocking up for more than two weeks at a time are depleting store shelves of important products and may not realize they are preventing the women and children on this program from getting what they need.

The good thing is, there should always be multiple options for your favorite healthy staples, like rice and peanut butter, so avoiding WIC labeled products shouldn't be that difficult. This is also a great option to support WIC beneficiaries if you can't hold off on going to the grocery store this week.