Shutdown Hits Home For NC Infants & Pregnant Women

5:42 PM, Oct 9, 2013   |    comments
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Piedmont Triad, NC -- The faces of those affected by the latest casualty of the shutdown are becoming clearer just a day after the state Department of Health and Human Services announced the shutdown forced it to stop issuing WIC vouchers.

That means, an estimated 52,000 North Carolina infants, young children and pregnant women will be turned away when they go to their local WIC offices for supplemental food and formula until the shutdown is over.

Shutdown: DHHS To Stop Issuing WIC Benefits

"Now we've got more people who are going to be living in survival mode and living in survival mode is very, very difficult," said Kim Crawford, executive director of Allied Churches in Burlington.

With no end in sight for the shutdown, she says she's expecting more children and families at her door needing help.

Already DeAnn Harris has turned up with her two children.

Harris doesn't have child support or child care, so she works picking tobacco or hauling junk when she can to feed her kids.
Her money doesn't stretch far and caused her to be evicted yesterday.

Her food stamps stopped coming in last month because of the glitches in the state's new NC FAST system.

She's down to her last can of formula for her youngest and now her WIC benefits are on hold until the shutdown is over. She says she was scheduled for an October 14th appointment.

"I know my kids are getting tired of seeing me cry but sometimes that's the only thing you can do. You can't make it magically appear," she said tearfully.

Harris has now turned to Allied Churches which helps the homeless and the needy in Alamance County.

But since the largest pantry in that county just shut down last month, they've been picking up the pieces.

In four weeks, they've dealt with the existing need, those from Loaves and Fishes, those whose unemployment benefits were cut off, those who are not getting food stamps because of the system glitches and now the shutdown.

"It's going to be a trickledown. So, I don't expect it today but I expect it in a couple of days where we're going to see increased numbers," Crawford said.

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