With the government deep in debt, the topic of cutting WIC has been coming up in Congress. Every time this comes up, people always talk about how much this would hurt America’s low-income women, infants, and children.
I’d like to point out that usually what the government can do with $100, most Americans can do just as well or better with $25. Why does a 10% budget cut to WIC have to cause any WIC clients to go without their vouchers? Why can’t we just use the money wiser to stretch the food dollars? Here are 6 ways to cut back the WIC budget without turning away any clients:
- Replace all juice on the vouchers with Vitamin C supplements. WIC gives juice because it’s high in Vitamin C. But most WIC juice is only high in Vitamin C because it has been supplemented with additional Vitamin C. Let’s cut the expensive, low nutrient, high in sugar juice from the vouchers completely, and give moms and children a cheap bottle of Vitamin C supplements. A glass of water and a Vitamin C pill will have more Vitamin C than the juice, and way less sugar. This is a win, win!
- Stop paying for 4 oz glass jars of baby food. Unsweetened applesauce can be bought in a large jar much cheaper. A whole banana can be bought and mashed up much cheaper. Making baby food is NOT rocket science, and it’s way cheaper than Nestle’s little glass jars of Gerber.
- Pay for LESS jars of baby food. I seriously cannot believe that WIC thought my exclusively breastfed baby should receive 90+ jars of baby food at 6 months old. Thank God I had my head on straight and knew not to try and feed her all that, or she would have surely lost out on much more nutritious breast milk. She would have been way too stuffed to nurse at 6 months old had I given her all the food WIC put on a voucher for her!
- Stop putting quarts of milk on WIC vouchers. The cost per an ounce of milk goes up dramatically when you start buying it in smaller containers. The dairy counsel has their hands way too deep in the WIC program. Round the food vouchers down to the nearest whole gallon of milk and stop putting 1-3 quarts of milk on food packages.
- Remove any name brand cereals from the WIC approved food list if a similar cereal is available in store brand. WIC doesn’t need to approve expensive Cheerios when every single grocery store I’ve seen carries a cheaper store brand of “O’s” that has the exact same nutritional content.
- Share advertising materials. A few states have spent their own money on making WIC commercials. I’m unsure why each state needs to be producing its own commercials when they’re offering the same thing to the same population. Don’t get me wrong. The commercials were great, and if they get moms to breastfeed that saves money for everyone, but we don’t need to pay to make different ones for each state.
Do you have ideas for how WIC could cut costs without cutting how many clients it serves or the amount of nutritional food it gives?