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Forum, May 8: Good time to support child nutrition efforts

Published: 5/7/2021 10:00:05 PM
Modified: 5/7/2021 10:00:03 PM
It’s a good time to support child nutrition efforts

It’s almost Mother’s Day, and I’m thinking about those mothering during this pandemic. Some have lost their jobs or had to reduce their hours at work. Because of school or child care closings, some have had no choice but to stay home with children. In any case, many moms are earning less income and may be struggling to put food on the table.

When my son was born, I had to quit work to be home with him. It was a joyful time in many ways, but it was a really tough time financially. At one point, I even started writing bad checks to buy groceries. Eventually, the stores wouldn’t take my checks anymore.

I didn’t know at the time that I could have gotten help. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC, had just been established then, and I could have used the critical assistance it provides. If I’d had access to that assistance, maybe I wouldn’t have had to write bad checks.

No one should have to struggle just to feed their family. Unfortunately, almost 50 years since WIC began, only half of eligible mothers are participating, according to the Save the Children Action Network. That’s why lawmakers must take advantage of the opportunity to improve and modernize WIC through the Child Nutrition Reauthorization process underway in Congress. This would help get more assistance to more eligible mothers.

Why don’t we make this Mother’s Day extra special by honoring our nation’s mothers and urging our senators and representatives to support WIC modernizations in the Child Nutrition Reauthorization process? Let’s ensure that all moms, infants and young children get the critical nutrition and health services they need to grow, develop and thrive. By doing so, we invest in a future in which our children are less likely to be involved in crime or drugs and far more likely to be successful and more productive.

Who knows? One of them could be the next Einstein!

BARBARA SOUTHARD

Bradford, N.H.

The writer is a Save the Children Action Network volunteer.




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