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WIC Funds to be Cut

Thousands of women and children in Oklahoma may lose the money they rely on to have enough food each month, thanks to the government shutdown. 

They're part of the WIC program, which stands for women, infants, and children.  The federal government provides grants to the states to provide food and other nutritional aid to low income women and kids. But the state of Oklahoma only has enough money to last through the end of October.

In a way, she's a little bit lucky that she's not already dealing with the problem.  I called the Oklahoma director of WIC, Terry Bryce, about it. He told me they were only able to stay funded this month because of funds they had saved from the previous fiscal year--that money will run out at the end of this month. So those ninety thousand Oklahomans receiving WIC benefits will be without, if the shutdown continues.

Jennifer Anderson is a regular to the Lawton Food Bank. She has eight children and three are on WIC, so this is going to tremendously affect her family.

"It's helps our family through the month, so much. My husband just works a regular job and we need the help," said Anderson.

Anderson says her children eat a lot of food, so she's already trying to save food by cutting out snacking.

Lawton Food Bank director, Jerri Mosiman says their phone has been ringing off the hook from people that have been able to take care of their families in the past but with snap benefits being cut last month, the government shutdown and WIC running out of money, these people are afraid.

"They're afraid about having enough food to feed their children, to adequately take care of their families, to pay their bills. We've never had this many phone calls from people that used to be donors and are now coming to us in need of food," said Mosiman.

The food bank isn't the only place seeing more people needing help...

St. John's Baptist Church has also seen more people. St. John's has a hot lunch six days a week for anyone who's hungry with no questions asked--today over one hundred people came to eat lunch. The food ministry director says the number of people that come to their daily meal is up--and he thinks it's due to people being scared about their benefits being cut and saving their SNAP and WIC until the end of the month.

"You never know what might happen. So this is one meal they know they don't have to worry about saving their money for and they can come in and eat, so they are hear eating this meal,"said Davis.

Davis says they were previously feeding eighty to ninety people a day and now they are feeding anywhere from 125 to 140 people daily.

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