People may have been taken aback by the shutdown's effect on depriving everyone to enjoy a gaze at the National Zoo's pandas and a trip to the national museums and parks. However, the situation could become more serious and grim among the nation's millions of poor residents soon.
While several of these programs that deliver help to low-income families and people such as food stamps, Medicare, and Medicaid will run unaffected during the shutdown. TIME reported that the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) might soon be put to a halt.
The program, with an estimated cost of almost $7 billion dollars, has provided residents with access to meals, formula, nutritional awareness, health-care referrals, and breast-feeding support to 9 million mothers, babies, and children belonging to the poor and underprivileged group. Currently, the program had to rely on the $125 million from the USDA's contingency fund to be able to continue its operations all throughout the month.
Douglas Greenaway, the nonprofit National WIC Association's president, has warned that clinics will have no choice but to close their doors and stop giving benefits if normal funding fails to resume towards the end of the month. He further added that the shutdown has created a certain level of uncertainty among families whose lives are already in a vulnerable state.
At least 53 percent of all infants born in the U.S depend on WIC, based on the report of the National WIC Association. Moreover, there are participants in some states that have already dealt with the reality of not being able to access the services.
The clinics in Utah had already closed their doors and had refused to accept new participants before receiving USDA's emergency funds which had been calculated to have reached the amount of $2.5 million. The program is said to give aid to 66,000 mothers, infants, and children in the state.