The government shutdown could soon affect the dinner tables of nearly 20,000 people in Spokane County as funding for the WIC program will run out if the government shutdown lasts eight more days.
Mothers rely on this government funding to help feed their kids until they turn five. If the money runs out they'll have to find other ways to support their families.
A monthly visit to the WIC office is a key part of Karissa Bailey's life. On Wednesday she sat in the office with her son Julian, a big, healthy, six-month-old boy thanks in part to help from the WIC program.
“There would be no other way for me to get formula otherwise, it's way too expensive,” she said.
WIC provides key nutrition to moms and their babies until the age of five and also provides counseling and health care referrals. If the shutdown continues, the 40 people employed by the WIC office would also be laid off at the end of the month.
The help and those vital visits women and their children receive could vanish if the government is still shut down October 11.
“I can't believe that it's happening; I mean it's really scary because they're affecting way more than I think they realize,” Bailey said.
WIC payments would stop; checks used at stores to buy formula, and healthy foods for children would bounce.
“Without our service, it has a huge impact,” WIC program director Tiffany Schamber said.
Schamber said they’re trying to help the families who count on their support as soon as they can.
“As of the 11th, retailers aren't going to be accepting those WIC checks. So we're getting the word out to our clients to go and spend them now,” Schamber said.
The painful waiting game begins for Karissa Bailey and many others who are waiting to see if their WIC checks will bounce and if the doors will open for her next visit in a month.
“We're sitting here scared that we're not going to be able to feed our kids. It's really not fair,” Bailey said.