WIC program to see budget cuts under Boehner supported plan

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - One of the programs that will lose funding in the John Boehner-supported deficit reduction plan is the Women Infants and Children Nutrition Program, or WIC.

In Hamilton County there are 16 different WIC offices, many of them located in county health clinics.

"It's not a want, it's not a luxury, it's a need for my daughter to get the nutrition that she needs," Abigail Haas said.

As a single mom, Haas says she has made it through with the help of WIC.

"It's basically healthy, very nutritional stuff," Haas said. "You can't go get Coco Pebbles on WIC, you get cheerios for you to enhance your health."

"We see all colors, all nationalities, we see from the most highly educated to people who have not gone to school at all," county WIC program director MaryAnn Meehan said.

Meehan says Haas is just one of 9.3 million people who will be helped across the United States just this month by the federally funded program.

"About 50 percent of all kids born in the United States are on WIC at some point in their life," she shared.

Meehan says WIC offers a combination of education and supplemental food to help keep children healthy; a combo that she says helps save money in the long run.

"Less preterm babies, that's an enormous bill for tax payers," she said.

"WIC is not here for you to live off of for the rest of your life and neither is any other type of welfare program but it does help give you a step in the door," Haas shared.

For Haas, that means completing the degree she is working on to become a medical assistant, and like Meehan, she is worried about what a budget cut could do for the program.

"I don't think that budgets or anything should be cut with it because there are a lot of single moms," Haas noted. "It's great to have a program to turn to when you don't have that support system.

"We don't know how it will trickle down from the federal to the state level then to us on the local level," Meehan said.

She says they will just have to be ready to do more with less for moms like Haas if need be.

According to the Food and Drug Administration's website, a 500 million cut in the WIC budget is more than the 2010 WIC budgets for Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia combined.

Copyright 2011 FOX19. All Rights Reserved.