Today I called each of my US Congress representatives, and I told them the following:
- who I was,
- where I was from,
- that the WIC program is a vital part of my community,
- and to eliminate the sequester and fully fund WIC to meet the public health nutrition needs of mothers and young children in fiscal year 2014
Then I followed up by sending the following email to:
I encourage you to do the same. Take action now.
Message text follows:
December 3, 2013
I urge you to support a budget plan that puts the nation on a sustainable fiscal path without taking funding from important human needs and public health programs like the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
WIC is the nation's premiere, preventive, mission driven, short-term public health nutrition program. It influences lifetime nutrition and health behaviors in a targeted, high-risk population of low-income mothers and young children at risk for developing nutrition-related diseases and disorders. Serving nearly 9 million mothers and young children, including 53% of all infants in the country, WIC provides nutrition education, breastfeeding education and support, referrals to medical and social services and a low-cost nutritious food package.
We urge you to support a budget plan that:
1) Provides an overall funding level to adequately fund non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs like WIC.
Funding for NDD programs has declined by more than 11% from $540 billion to $483 billion between fiscal years 2010 and 2013.
2) Eliminate the sequester.
Entrepreneurial WIC programs across the nation are already lean, implementing clinic consolidations, reduced clinic hours, hiring freezes, and food cost containment strategies that have left them no wiggle room in their mission to deliver effective, quality nutrition services. They are out of strategies to dampen the impact of the upcoming sequester cut in January.
If sequestration remains law, WIC managers will be forced to triage vulnerable mothers and young children, removing them from WIC. This is not a solution for an already at-risk population. It will only result in increased infant mortality, more and costly pre-term births, long-term negative health consequences, and nutrition-deficient children unprepared to enter school ready-to-learn. All of this places America's future - our children - at jeopardy.