Kentuckians who rely on WIC for food could be affected if government shuts down

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Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 12:12 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The White House says women and children who count on WIC could be some of the first to feel the effects of a government shutdown. That includes more than 100-thousand Kentuckians.

WIC is a supplemental food program for women, infants, and children. It provides healthy food options at no cost.

The program is funded annually by the federal government but, as a government shutdown looms. The program and those reliant on it could be at risk.

There is a 150-million-dollar contingency fund that would keep the program running during a shutdown, but the White House says it would likely run out within days, leaving the states with limited funds to operate the program.

Without WIC, more people will likely turn to food pantries run by non-profits like the Christian Appalachian Project.

“The thing I love about CAP is we say CAP is there for the long haul, so whether things are going great with funding on the federal or state level CAP is going to be there to help families in between,” said CAP Assistant Director of Communications Tina Bryson.

Just last week, the Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) hosted their annual hunger walk, where they collected more than 8,000 pounds of food, which will be used to help families in need.

CAP says that in Appalachia, more than 19 percent of people lack affordable, nutritious food.

“There are many families that struggle because of poverty throughout the year, and so there’s always going to be challenges about putting enough food on the table. We know that prices are high because of inflation. We’re still recovering because of the pandemic, so those things are just exacerbated the issues in rural communities,” said Bryson.

Tina Bryson with CAP says their team is always there to help, but they keep a close eye on policy changes that may impact benefits at both the state and federal levels.

“Many times, that’s going to contribute to increased need in the communities, so our staff are always prepared to meet increased needs and to help those families that may find themselves with their benefits being delayed because of a government shutdown,” said Bryson.

The deadline to fund the government is this Saturday. If a funding plan is not put into place, a shutdown would take effect at 12:01 Sunday morning.

The White House says it would only take a few days for WIC recipients to begin to feel the impacts of a shutdown.

September is Hunger Action Month. CAP is accepting food donations through the end of September. More information can be found at