SEATTLE — The effects of the federal shutdown are trickling down to King County. A program to help feed families in need will lose funding at the end of the month.
Chelsea Chappell has two boys under the age of 5, and making sure they get enough to eat can be tough.
“My husband is a student and we`re living off student loans. And WIC is a good boost to get our kids what they need,” she said Wednesday.
WIC, the Women, Infant and Children’s program, is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It helps 38,000 families in King County, educating them about proper nutrition and making sure they can buy the right food for their kids.
“They have nurses, make sure your kids are healthy, the height and weight they need to be,” says Chappell. “And then they give you the check.”
But now Chappell, and other local moms, are going to have to figure out how to get by without that check.
“As a result of the federal shutdown, funding for WIC will run out on Thursday, Oct. 31,” King County Executive Dow Constantine announced Wednesay. He added that that 82 county employees who administer WIC services were also put on notice that in 45 days they will be laid off.
Constantine said more families in Washington state will be affected if the shutdown continues.
“We need to get the whole federal government open and back to work. They are literally taking the food out of babies’ mouth.”
Stephanie Walker, another WIC client, said politicians don’t realize how many families need the government for basic services.
“I’m not usually the person to need help, I’ve always had a job. But I hit rock-bottom based on a health issue I had, and I honestly don`t know how my son would have been fed without WIC.”