Iowa WIC program gets one-month extension during shutdown

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Isaac Wallace, just five weeks old, is nearly the government shutdown's youngest victim. His mom, Terese Wallace, Davenport, relies on the WIC program.

"I know there's a lot of families out there less fortunate," she said. "If this program didn't exist, I don't think they would have any way at all to feed their children."

While Congress remains sharply divided over the shutdown, a stopgap measure will provide temporary relief. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is releasing unspent food dollars. That will allow WIC funding to remain in place through the end of October.

"By having these funds through the end of the month, it's really going to help families to be able to keep running their households and providing healthy food for their families," said McKenzie Taets, WIC coordinator at the Edgerton Women's Health Center.

That will allow Wallace and some 4,200 Scott County families to receive WIC vouchers and funding. It's money for basic food and baby formula.

"It's strictly for nutrition," Wallace said.

For moms like Wallace, the one-month extension will buy some time. But the long term solution remains stalled in the congressional stalemate.

"It seems to be a vicious circle," said Pam Hauman, Child Abuse Council.

Without WIC, problems snowball that pressure other providers like food pantries and working families.

"Pretty soon, there aren't going to be supports for families any more," she said.

Wallace welcomes this temporary reprieve, but the future remains uncertain.

"I'm grateful that they can give me a month, so at least I can get by," she concluded. "But what about anybody else who can't make ends meet?"

For her son Isaac, there's no time to wait.

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