WENATCHEE— People are failing to receive benefits they are entitled to because of the U.S.government shutdown.
It isn’t because the programs are actually closed, said David Olson, Columbia Valley Community Health executive director. It is because people heard a rumor that programs like the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) food and nutrition service are closed and stopped coming.
“People have stopped coming by because they think WIC isn’t open and it is open,” Olson said. “And we even sent out letters and put out flyers and put on our Facebook page, ‘Hey WIC is still open. We still want to help you.’”
The WIC program will not run out of funding until March, he said. So, in the meantime people can still receive help.
The WIC program teaches parents about nutrition and what foods are best for kids at certain ages, Olson said. It also provides food for families to make sure their kids are properly fed.
“We also have a relationship with the farmers market,” he said. “The idea is that like the rest of us when your brain is growing it needs lots of fruits and vegetables.”
This shutdown hasn’t affected the clinic too much because the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is still funded, Olson said. The clinic has been impacted, though in past shutdowns.
But anyone who uses federal services should call their providers before assuming they’re closed, he said.
“If someone were to call and ask if our WIC offices were open we would tell them, ‘Yes, We are here to help,’ Olson said.