NEW YORK (NEWS10) – On Friday, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, announced a bicameral push from over 135 members of Congress. This push urges U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack to review and increase the value of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) food packages.
Since the WIC program started in 1974, Gillibrand’s Office says it has earned a reputation as one of the most successful federally funded nutrition programs in the country. However, they add that the WIC food packages have not been revised since 2014. Almost a quarter million New Yorkers are WIC recipients, and half of infants born in the state before the pandemic were part of the program.
Gillibrand was joined by New York City Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams and Georgia Boothe, Executive Vice President at Children’s Aid, who discussed the local impact of this federal anti-hunger push.
“Giving families healthier options in WIC food packages has demonstrated positive health outcomes. That’s why we are asking the Department of Agriculture to now take the necessary steps of reviewing and updating the WIC food packages to reflect a modern healthy diet,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We need to permanently raise the value of the food packages so families can afford to buy not just more food, but healthier food.”
WIC is a helpful resource for mothers and young children. It provides food, health screenings, breastfeeding consultations and counselors, resources for handling substance use disorder, and referrals to other support programs.