Day 12 of the government shutdown and still no end in sight. As concerns are raised over the condition of our state parks, there’s renewed concern over how this will affect benefits at home.
25% of the government remains unfunded, like the U.S. Department of Agriculture which funds Snap or Cal-Fresh and Women Infant Care or WIC.
Santa Barbara County health officials say they have been told by the state WIC Program that there are sufficient funds to cover WIC through early February 2019.
In Santa Barbara County alone, 15,000 individuals utilize WIC monthly.
The women, infant and children program falls under the umbrella of the County Public Health Department and provides nutrition counseling, breastfeeding education and monthly vouchers to buy nutritious food.
Health officials say despite the shutdown, January’s vouchers are still valid and vendors have been notified to continue accepting the checks from WIC participants.
“We’ve been reassured quite a bit by our program that there’s funds to cover us and they’ll let us know ahead of time if anything like that happens and just to reassure our participants that we are still here, our doors are open,” said Elena Guerra-Alvarez, Health Education Assistant for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.
Guerra-Alvarez says if you get any pushback at the grocery store trying to use a voucher, call or text WIC immediately. You can find more information here.
Officials say come February, if the shutdown is still active, they will be in “wait and see mode,” awaiting further notice from the state.
We reached out to Social Services to get an update on Cal-Fresh and have yet to receive a call back.