The federally-funded program for pregnant women and children, WIC, will continue in New York state — at least for now. Cindy Walton, director of Finger Lakes WIC, said an emergency fax arrived Tuesday, the day the federal government shut down, saying WIC in New York will stay open and operate as usual until further notice.
That is good news for the at-risk moms and children benefiting from the program that in the Finger Lakes WIC region alone serves an average of 4,900 people a month. The region covers the counties of Ontario, Wayne, Yates and Seneca and a section of Monroe County, Fairport and Webster.
Walton said an average of 1,200 women and children are served each month from the WIC office in Canandaigua at 79 S. Main St.
WIC funding comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and in New York state, the state helps with a small portion of that funding, said Walton. The word that the program would stay open came from the state Department of Health, she said.
Walton said moms qualifying for the program receive vouchers to buy specific, nutritional foods such as baby formula, milk and eggs. The funds reimburse the stores.
The program also provides health care referrals and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, along with helping infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.
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The program serves some of the community's most vulnerable people, said Walton. "We have a great impact on young families," she said.
To call WIC in Canandaigua, (585) 394-9240.