On Day 31 of the Partial Government Shutdown we are learning that furloughed government employees are facing a second pay day with a zero on their paycheck. Each day as the partial government is extended, we hear more stories of the impact of these “paychecks.” Stories have emerged of furloughed employees withdrawing funds from retirement, securing loans and still others are trying to locate temporary employment.
The headlines have featured the plight of these employees, but for women that are attending treatment services at the Women’s Recovery Center and their children , the consequences are dire.
The Food and Drug Administration announced yesterday that the February allocations of SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, allocations will be issued early, but without a resolution to the Partial Shutdown no additional funds for nutritional support will be offered past February. Women and families that receive these food benefits are the most vulnerable members of the population with income less than 200% of the poverty level.
The second program that is especially concerning to the Women’s Recovery Center is the Women, Infant and Children’s (WIC) program. WIC offers nutrition for eligible pregnant and breastfeeding women, women who recently had a baby, infants, and children up to five years of age who are at health risk due to inadequate nutrition. This program has funding through January. It is unclear of the fate effective February 1st.
Gabrielle had a baby just seven weeks ago. The infant is healthy in nearly every way, but he cannot digest breast milk thus require a soy infant formula. Although she has had to supplement, the volume of formula received from WIC she is now facing a dilemma whether to dilute the formula that she is feeding to her baby. The consequences for the infant can be severe and a life threatening diagnosis.
How can you help during this shutdown? Please donate all sizes of diapers, infant formula, wet wipes and nutritional foods and snacks for women to feed their children.