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Nutrition program funded despite government shutdown

Photo by SuperTalk Mississippi News

While the shutdown of the federal government remains in effect, a crucial nutrition program in Mississippi will continue for the time being.

The Mississippi State Department of Health announced that the ‘Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children’ (WIC) will remain open through the month of January without congressional action on the current government shutdown.

Working with their federal partners at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – the agency funding the WIC program – the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) has been granted enough funds in the federal fiscal year 2019 to continue operations.

A news release from the MSDH stated that the WIC program would’ve had to terminate service to 95,000 Mississippians due to the shutdown if they didn’t receive these funds.

The WIC Program is a supplemental nutrition program for pregnant, breastfeeding, and post-partum women, infants and children under the age of five. The Mississippi WIC Program operates and maintains 95 distribution sites across the state.

“With this allowance by the USDA, we can ensure WIC operations without disruptions through at least the end of January, if not even an additional few weeks in February,” said MSDH State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs. “This gives us a little breathing room.”

Dobbs went on to say that the agency will continue to monitor, assess and make plans for possible further delays in funding in order to continue services for Mississippi mothers and babies and protect the jobs of MSDH employees.

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