October 4, 2013 11:04:28 AM
JACKSON -- Despite a partial shutdown of the federal government, Mississippi has gotten permission to keep operating a nutrition program for more than 94,000 low- to moderate-income women and children.
Dr. Mary Currier, the state health officer, said Thursday that money left over from the previous federal budget year will keep the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children -- better known as WIC -- open through October.
WIC helps pregnant, breastfeeding and post-partum women, plus infants and children younger than 5. People on the program can receive baby food and formula, eggs, peanut butter, milk, whole wheat bread or tortillas and other types of food.
Money to pay for WIC goes through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the state Health Department operates 96 distribution sites for the program.
Currier says the USDA gave Mississippi permission to keep offering WIC services this month. The state is one of the poorest in the nation.
"We will continue to monitor, assess and make plans for every contingency as we know that no new federal funding can be used until Congress acts to appropriate fiscal year 2014 funds," Currier said in a news release. "Please know that we are working every way possible to continue our services to moms and babies in Mississippi, and to protect the jobs of our dedicated employees."
People eligible for WIC may have an income of $21,257 for one person up to $73,316 for a family of eight.