Shutdown threatens WIC support for mothers and children

Employees uncertain about future of program

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - For now, it's business as usual at the Women, Infants and Children program (WIC) clinic in Wyandotte County, but that may not be for much longer.

"For at least two weeks, past 30 days is questionable," Nancy Sanchez, WIC coordinator for the clinic said.

The program is relying on state funds to keep them up and running, but that money comes from the federal government, so news of the shutdown has employees anxious.

"We're kind of on pins and needles for a couple weeks hoping that the vote is really quick," Sanchez said.

It also has more than 7,000 women in Kansas City, Kan., like Betty Smiley, who depend on the program to help feed their children nervous.

"This is all we have because it's all that we qualify for so it helps out a lot," Smiley said.

Employees answered calls all day reassuring families that they will remain open. Last year's budget was tight enough, this time around, there are higher stakes.

"We knew 2014 was going to be tighter, but we weren't expecting congress to really say no. I think we we're hoping to that we would have enough funds to keep us going," said Sanchez.

That's something even some like Smiley's one-year-old child is counting one.

"He loves his milk and his food," Smiley said.

Employees at WIC are still making appointments for the remainder of the year, despite any fears, anticipating that they will not have to close.  

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