Many low-income mothers who rely on the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) have voiced their worry about not being able to feed their children, as they are having trouble finding basic food items, such as milk and cheese, as others hoard them during the pandemic.
WIC eligible foods include baby food and formula, milk, cheese, cereal, fruits and vegetables, juice, eggs and peanut butter — items that panicked Americans are stocking up on, a problem WIC shoppers.
“When stocking up for #SocialDistancing…If you see something labeled “WIC” please choose another brand. People who rely on WIC products to feed their kids cannot. We’re all in this together,” said Washington on Twitter.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama retweeted Kerry’s message in support, writing: “@KerryWashington is right. The few days of each month are crucial for families that depend on WIC products. Let’s look out for each other by taking the extra few seconds to look at those labels. Every act of kindness counts.”
“Before, I could just pick a store and know there would be no issues getting what we need,” said 30-year-old Wisconsin mother of two, Kelli Sullivan, who replies on the program. “Now I have to stop at several stores, often with my kids, hoping to find eggs, bread and cheese,” she explained to BuzzFeed News, per miamiherald.com.
“People who can afford it are going in and buying all of these things and leaving nothing for anybody else,” DeSaree Woodall Smalls, a mother of four, told Philadelphia-area publication BillyPenn.com.
Janelle Monáe also backed Washington’s message: “I was a WIC baby. PLEASE read labels,” the singer tweeted.
States can apply for waivers that will allow WIC shoppers to purchase alternative brands when their items are out of stock.
“Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, states can begin submitting waiver requests to allow for additional substitutions, as well,” USDA spokesman Tony Craddock Jr. told Buzzfeed. “USDA is prepared to assist states, as needed, to ensure that WIC participants receive the nutritional support that they need.”