Congresswoman Gwen Moore and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Lead 126 House and Senate Members In Encouraging Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to Increase the Value of WIC Food Packages
Today, Congresswoman Moore and Senator Gillibrand led 126 House and Senate Members in requesting Secretary Vilsack increase the cash value of food packages to ensure families have greater access to acquiring nutritious foods. In response, she released the following statement:
“The WIC program has provided the much-needed support in our fight against hunger and food insecurity providing meals to millions of women, babies, and children. This pandemic has demonstrated that we need hunger-fighting programs now more than ever. By increasing the WIC food packages, we can eliminate cost barriers to nutritious foods that disproportionately impact low-income families and communities of color.
“I am proud to work with Senator Gillibrand on this effort and urge USDA to act swiftly on this crucial issue,” said Congresswoman Moore.
“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. Making these changes will ensure that USDA is reaching as many eligible families as possible and getting them resources they need, and I am looking forward to working with my colleagues and Secretary Vilsack to make this happen.”
“The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the need to increase the value of the WIC food package as hunger and food insecurity are on the rise and food equity becomes more challenging. Improving and enhancing the WIC food package is foundational to eliminating nutritional barriers for young families across America,” said Rev. Douglas Greenaway, President & CEO of the National WIC Association. “What makes WIC stand out is our focus on science-based nutrition – guaranteeing our WIC families healthy food benefits and quality nutrition education and support to help babies and young children grow and thrive. We applaud Sen. Gillibrand and Rep. Moore on their leadership and commitment toward increasing the value of the WIC food package and urge the USDA to stand with us in making sure all children in America have access to a healthy WIC start.”
“Boosting the WIC food package will provide much-needed support to New York families who face devastating food inequities that have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lauren Brand, chair of the WIC Association of New York State. “WIC families will benefit from receiving additional nutrient-rich foods that encourage healthy eating habits for life, ensuring that every child gets a healthy start. The WIC Association of New York State thanks Senator Gillibrand for bringing attention to the urgent need to increase the value of the WIC benefit.”
“When families and communities are struggling to provide access to food and tackle systemic health challenges, an increase in the value of the WIC package would be a crucial step forward in supporting infant and child health outcomes,” said Aryn DeGrave, chair of the Wisconsin WIC Association. “Through additional nutrient-dense foods, we can increase prevention of nutrition-related disease and food insecurity long after this pandemic is controlled and close health disparities among our communities of color. The Wisconsin WIC Association would like to proudly thank Congresswoman Gwen Moore for her leadership in calling for USDA to take urgently needed action for WIC families.”
Read the full text of the letter here.