Kansas gets funds to keep WIC going during government shutdown

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Christopher Hilaman with his children. He depends on WIC funding to feed his kids. Christopher Hilaman with his children. He depends on WIC funding to feed his kids.

Kansas has received additional federal funds to help keep the state's Women-Infants and Children's program going through the government shutdown. 

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said Monday that the money from the USDA will keep the WIC program operational into March.

The KDHE received an additional $1,421,255 for food purchases and $889,645 for Nutrition Services and Administration. The funds will allow Kansas to purchase food until March 4 and keep staff operational until March 13.

“This is good news for the WIC program in Kansas,” said David Thomason, Director of the Nutrition and WIC Services Section in the KDHE Bureau of Family Health. “There is a great deal of uncertainty during the shutdown, so this news will help to communicate that the WIC program is secure into March. We will continue to share any other news about this program in the meantime.”

The KDHE said the USDA continues to monitor state WIC programs and is working to ensure that programs remain operational. 

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Christopher Hilaman depends on Women-Infants and Children -- or WIC -- funding to feed his kids. Without the help, he doesn't know what he'll do.

"Very sad and devastating,” he said.

That's the first thought that comes to his mind as the government shutdown rolls into week three.

Christopher and many others are worried if the shutdown continues past February then they won't be able to get their WIC benefits, which could mean less food on the table for their kids.

"Then what would we do, especially when you have newborns? Formula that's expensive,” he stated.  

Nationwide, WIC provides funding for about eight million new mother's, infants and children, costing around $6 billion each year.

The department of agriculture says the program will be funded through February. If a deal isn't made by then, benefits could be reduced or cut off completely.

"If it's going to be hurting families, then yeah, it needs to be over sooner than later,” said Darci Foster.

Through the uncertainty, Hilaman says he's keeping his head above water, doing his best to provide for his family.

"My kids, my wife, and then gotta pay house, ya know, rent, bills,” he added. 

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