WIC to continue through February despite shutdown

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A New Orleans woman, pictured here with her baby, is a young advocate inspired by her experiences at a local arts center.

Mississippi has received enough money to keep a federally funded nutrition program going through February despite a partial government shutdown that has paralyzed nearly a dozen federal agencies.

On Wednesday, the state Department of Health, which administers the Women, Infants and Children program, announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture had secured enough funding to keep the WIC program going for another month, even though the USDA is one of the agencies affected by the shutdown.

“Through the USDA’s flexibility with funding, our services to pregnant women and children will not be interrupted at this time, and for that we are grateful,” said Dr. Thomas Dobbs, the state health officer.

The WIC Program is a supplemental nutrition program for pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women as well as infants and children under five. WIC operates and maintains 95 distribution sites and serves 95,000 clients statewide each month. If the USDA had not worked out a deal to continue funding, the Department of Health would have begun cutting services in February.

If the shutdown continues through February, services for March could be interrupted.

“Of course we will continue to monitor the situation and make plans for further delays in funding if necessary.”