Posted: Oct 2, 2013 9:35 PM by Laura Wilson - MTN News
KALISPELL - Federal funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, also known as WIC, has been halted because of the government shutdown.
And for now, it's up to individual states to keep the program moving forward.
Montana's WIC program isn't in danger just yet. The Flathead City-County Health Department expects to receive state funding for the WIC program for the next several weeks.
Flathead City-County Public Health Officer Joe Russell said, "Right now, we have heard nothing from the state that would change what we're doing in Flathead County."
Mother of two, Victoria Garrett said, "It gives us the hope of knowing that we're going to be able to provide for our kids, instead of wondering if we're going to have enough money to get their next thing of formula."
The money being used is actually previous funding from the USDA, that the state had not yet used for its WIC services.
But this is a quick fix, not a long-term solution.
Russell said, "The certainty moves away pretty fast. We've always run thinking the less money we take out of WIC, the more services we can provide to Flathead County. We've always run on that paradigm and we're not going to change now. So, we need those federal funds to operate at the level we're at now."
The average cost of generic-brand baby formula runs anywhere between $50 to $100 a month.
Without WIC, moms could be footing an annual baby formula bill as high as $1,200 per child.
"When we get the WIC checks, and then it comes out to how much the bill would be [without WIC], it's crazy how high it is," Garrett says.
With 1,900 Flathead Valley women utilizing WIC services each month, it's a service many moms say they can't go without.
The Health Department expects federal funding will resume, before state funding runs out.
At this point, no WIC administrative layoffs or program cuts are planned for Flathead County.