SEARHC WIC program may fill in for latest food stamp cuts

November 04 2013

JUNEAU – The WIC program (Women, Infants, and Children) at SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) may be able to fill in nutrition gaps where food stamp assistance, technically known as the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (SNAP) may soon be lacking.

According to a recent article in USA Today, “Food stamp benefits will be cut to more than 47 million Americans starting Friday as a temporary boost to the federal program comes to an end without a new budget from a deadlocked Congress to replace it.”

To clarify, a family of four that gets $668 per month in benefits will find that amount cut by $36. While that may seem like relatively little, it can equate to several meals per month and local food banks may not be able to fill the void.

Vulnerable populations will be hardest hit by the cuts. In Alaska there are approximately 95,000 recipients, 13% of the state’s population. They will see a total of about $12,000,000.00 in cuts to the SNAP program, which will affect 42,000 children and 13,000 elderly or disabled people.

For some families, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children – better known as the WIC Program serves pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants and children up to age five and may help bridge the gap. The WIC Program not only provides nutritious foods, but information on healthy eating and living, and referrals to health care.

SEARHC administers the WIC program here in Southeast Alaska and is available to serve as many eligible women, infants and children as possible, and to make figuring out eligibility and the application process quick and easy.

Those eligible for WIC include pregnant woman, women who recently delivered a baby, or miscarried, and infants or children under the age of five.

You automatically qualify for WIC if you currently receive any of the following: Medicaid, Denali Kid Care, food stamps, ATAP, or free or reduced-price school lunches.

Call the SEARHC WIC office at (907) 463-4099 or visit www.searhc.org today to see if you meet the guidelines.

In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, SEARHC is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.