Seeing empty shelves in the grocery aisles lately? You are not alone. Many families are experiencing shortages since the pandemic began. For families in the WIC program, this can mean fewer WIC-approved foods are available in certain stores. This shortage will not last forever. And, the tips below can help you manage. Consider using these tips to help you continue to feed your family and use your WIC benefits.
If your regular WIC-approved infant formula is unavailable at your local grocery store, there are a few things you can do.
Ask store staff. They may have WIC-approved formulas at their customer service desk.
Check with your local food bank to see if they have infant formula. This website will help you find a food bank near you. (This link will open in a new tab.)
Never feed your baby a homemade formula. This is dangerous! Babies need very specific nutrition. Homemade formula does not have enough of some nutrients and has too much of others.
Never feed your baby (under 1 year old) cow’s milk or milk substitutes.
Never water down your baby’s formula. This can cause serious health problems for your baby.
Note: The information above comes from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Learn more about the AAP's warnings about homemade infant formula at this website. This link will open in a new tab.
Certain WIC-approved cereals, pasta products, and fresh foods may be in short supply at your local store. If this is the case for you, remember that this is only for now. Stores are restocking shelves every day. Still, it can be stressful to not find what you want or need from your WIC-approved list. Below are a couple of ideas that may help.
1. Use your state's WIC app. If your state has a WIC app, it may have a store finder feature that can help you in this time. It will show you stores near you that carry WIC-approved foods.
2. Regularly check your state's WIC website to look for special updates on food options.
Mom To Mom
"I have been able to use my WIC with zero issues, but a lot of 'our' items have been unavailable, so it’s a struggle. I usually shop at regular grocery stores, so I may have to change where I go and try to get lucky there!" -Monica
Most WIC families must purchase some foods that are not WIC-approved. If you are having trouble finding these foods, you have many options. Below are some ways to find, and save money on, non-WIC foods.
1. Remember that food banks are open. Food banks across the country are helping parents and guardians provide for their families during this time. This website will help you find a food bank near you. (This link will open in a new tab.) You can also search for "food banks near me" if that website does not show you one nearby.
2. Check if you are eligible for SNAP. Many WIC families are also SNAP families. SNAP provides additional assistance for purchasing food. Learn more and check if you are eligible at this website. (This link will open in a new tab.)
3. Buy non-perishable foods online and have them delivered. Pantry items like grains, dry beans and peas, and canned soups are great foods to have in your kitchen at this time. You cannot use WIC benefits online currently. But you can stretch your food budget with low cost, non-perishable items.
WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER
Feeling stressed or anxious during this time of COVID-19? This is understandable. Take some time to call a friend if you are feeling stressed. Or, try writing down your feelings in a journal. You can also share your thoughts as a comment on this resource. Together, we can make our way through this struggle.