Press Contact: Natalie Moran, firstname.lastname@example.org
On Sunday, a broad coalition of approximately 250 frontline WIC providers, medical professionals, farmers, retail grocers, and WIC partners urged Congress to include in the forthcoming continuing resolution an extension of WIC’s benefit increase through September 2022. This letter follows an earlier letter from nearly 100 national organizations and a bipartisan group of Representatives.
WIC’s vegetable and fruit benefit is only $9/month for children and $11/month for women, but the American Rescue Plan Act passed in March 2021 provided a four-month increase of the monthly benefit to $35 for both women and children through September 30. Without Congressional action, over 4.7 million women and children will see steep declines of ~$25/month in their WIC vegetable and fruit benefits.
“Up against the September 30 deadline, Congress must not let inaction leave families and communities with fewer options to support children’s growth and development. Nearly 5 million women and children are going to lose enhanced access to fruits and vegetables unless Congress delivers on behalf of American families,” said Rev. Douglas Greenaway, President & CEO of the National WIC Association. “With alarming increases in pediatric obesity during the pandemic and rising food inflation, especially for fruits and vegetables, children need more support than only $2.25 per week to ensure healthy diets. Now is the time to extend proven and effective science-based measures with broad-based support that provide direct aid to families, improve childhood health outcomes, and support local economies.”
“This summer’s boost in fruit and vegetable benefits made a measurable impact on addressing nutrition insecurity,” said Tom Stenzel, President & CEO of United Fresh Produce Association. “We must not turn our backs on the millions of moms and children who experienced increased access to fresh produce, and urge Congress to preserve the benefit in the Continuing Resolution.”
“Independent community grocers across the United States proudly partner with the government in WIC to provide access to healthy foods for women, infants, and children. Serving at the front lines of local communities, grocers have seen firsthand the positive trickle-down effects of the recent cash value benefit increase on families, local economies, and independent grocers. NGA urges Congress to approve a one-year extension of the additional produce benefits to enhance nutrition security and invest in communities nationwide,” said Molly Pfaffenroth, senior director of government relations at the National Grocers Association.