Letter: The health and economic security of millions of children, pregnant and postpartum women depend on fully funding WIC

Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo Alejandra Castro, 34, shows up at the Crossroads Urban Center in Salt Lake with her 1-month-old Alejandro Ruz in hopes of getting baby formula for her son in 2013. With the Federal shut down taking effect, women who rely on the federally funded WIC (Women, Infants and Children) are unable to get baby formula.

We might be ringing in the new year but the U.S. Congress has some critical business leftover from 2023: Fully funding WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children)!

With rising food costs and increased program participation — and with data showing that funding WIC bolsters our local economy — it is more critical than ever that we also strengthen WIC to provide vital nutrition, formula, and breastfeeding support for pregnant women, postpartum moms, infants and toddlers in our communities.

Extensive research has found WIC to be a cost-effective investment that improves the nutrition and health of families and gives hard-working moms the tools they need to take care of their families. That’s why for decades there has been a bipartisan commitment in Congress to provide necessary funding to serve all eligible participants. WIC has experienced a 17% increase in child participation since 2020 and the program is expected to serve as many as 7 million pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and young children in 2024. Should Congress fail to increase its investment in WIC by the Jan. 19 deadline, the program will be in danger of returning to waitlists for the first time since the 1990s and hard-working families could see a benefit cut. That is not OK!

The health and economic security of millions of babies, toddlers, pregnant and postpartum women depend on our elected leaders fully funding WIC ASAP.

Miriam Belgique, Holladay

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