H-SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY

Mar 5, 2013 9:26 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News

Budget cuts could impact WIC program


The sequester is in effect, and overall impacts remain unknown.
But those who help low-income families say their clients could be hit hard.
One program bracing for those blows is called the women,infants and children program or simply WIC.
It provides food and nutritional supplements to low income women, infants and children. At this point the state says it's too early to tell how the cuts will be made. However, with more than 4900 people receiving benefits in San Luis Obispo County alone, officials of the program are paying close attention to Washington.

Ana Deydi knows first-hand what it's like to grow up hungry.

"My mom raised us on her own, with my two brothers and she didn't have WIC, we didn't have a lot to eat, sometimes we only to ate twice a day," said Deydi.

Growing up in a single parent household, she swore she wouldn't let her two year old daughter deal with that same uncertainty.

"I had her when I was sixteen, you know what am I going to do, mommy's struggling, I don't have money, how am I going to feed her," said Deydi.

That's when she turned to WIC as a safety net.
However now automatic spending cuts threaten that security.
And if an agreement isn't made in Washington the program could cut as many as 600,000 women and children off nationwide.
However officials in San Luis Obispo say the impact could be even greater than that.

"In a month, the WIC program is putting in approximately $307,000 into the local community," said Linda Mcclure.

That means more than $3.6 million ends up spent in the local San Luis Obispo economy every year.
And that's not all, according to program director Linda Mcclure, for every dollar spent in the WIC program, it saves the federal government $4.20 in medical costs.

Simple math, for a simple answer.

"I think the WIC program is the best place for the funding to be," said Mcclure.

The cuts haven't happened yet but if they do they'll be felt at the dinner table.

"We struggle, but thanks to WIC, we have milk and bread and hope, and it really helps," said Deydi.

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