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Letter

The federal government shutdown is causing concern and confusion about what programs are funded.

In Montana, the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program has adequate funding through at least February; however, a prolonged shutdown will affect WIC operations and will have negative health consequences for babies, young children and pregnant women during a critical period in the life cycle for growth and development.

Statewide, nearly 16,000 (1,800 in Missoula County) mothers, pregnant women and children rely on WIC for access to nutritious food to ensure healthy pregnancies and positive growth and development. The program’s targeted support is especially crucial for infants, who will lack access to breastfeeding support, breast pumps or infant formula.

WIC is still enrolling new families now, and recent program changes have made WIC more inviting. We now have electronic benefits and new food options. And in February we are expanding our clinic at Missoula Food Bank. We’ll be there every Monday and Thursday.

Pregnant and postpartum women, infants and children up to age 5 who are enrolled in Medicaid or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or meet income guidelines are eligible.

You can search “Missoula WIC” online to find our website with more information.

Kate Devino,

nutrition services manager,

Missoula City-County

Health Department,

Missoula

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