Lo these 20 years ago, when I was in high school, I worked as a cashier in a grocery store (it was the stone age, when scanners were just coming into wide use; I had to ring things up by hand).
One of the things I had to learn was how to ring up customers who used WIC checks to pay (I lived in an affluent suburb and we didn’t get too many of those, but we had some). There were only certain items that were covered by the WIC checks; I definitely remember that milk, juice, baby formula and certain other rather limited items were covered by the checks. But since I left the grocery business in 1988 or so, I haven’t really thought about WIC checks in any kind of detail — after all, I haven’t needed them.
So I was a little surprised to realize that they hadn’t, until now, covered fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
WASHINGTON – The grocery shopping list for the far-reaching Women, Infants and Children program is getting its first significant update since the 1970s. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are being added to the program, which helps feed more than half the babies born in the U.S. To cover the cost, WIC will pay for less of the juice, eggs, cheese and milk that have been staples of the program.
The changes to the low-income nutrition program were proposed Friday and will be finalized next year. Anti-hunger groups are enthusiastic about the additions.
“Overall, we’re really happy about this food package. We think, for WIC clients, this is going to make a huge difference,” said Geri Henchy, director of early childhood nutrition at the Food Research and Action Center.
“We like the idea that there are choices, that clients go to the grocery store and can pick the fruits and vegetables they want,” she said.
One thing you hear people sniffing about when they see poor fat people is, well, why don’t they eat more fruits and vegetables? Well, aside from the fact that they’re often not available in the shops in the neighborhoods where the poor fat people live, they have not been covered by programs like this.
Kudos for the change. Anything that will help get better nutrition into the hands of those who struggle to make ends meet is a step in the right direction.