The International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) has launched a new ad campaign designed to draw attention to the possibility that federal budget battles could result in cuts to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
The campaign calls "on Members of Congress to fund the WIC program, including critical fresh fruit and vegetable benefits that are in jeopardy."
You can watch the commercial here.
In its statement, IFPA said, "The WIC Program is already facing a $1 billion shortfall. Without full funding, the WIC program will need to place eligible applicants on a waitlist, turning away families needing supplemental assistance. Meanwhile, the program faces additional concerns as the current House version of the agricultural appropriations bill would cut fruit and vegetable benefits by 70 percent for women and 56 percent for children. These cuts would have significant consequences for nutrition, likely decreasing produce intake among the nation’s most vulnerable populations at a time when nearly half of American children already don’t eat a daily vegetable.
"The produce industry would lose an estimated $1.2 billion in revenue each year from the reduction of fruits and vegetables that would typically be available to WIC participants under the current funding structure."
“Fully funding the WIC Program is an urgent necessity for families nationwide,” said IFPA CEO Cathy Burns. “Our creative approach will convey this message to break through the noise on Capitol Hill, bringing attention to the mothers and children who rely on the WIC program for nutritious fruits and vegetables. The proposed cuts would have a devastating impact on millions of families, farmers, and retailers, and IFPA will continue to fight for women, infants, and children.”
- KC's View:
You'd think that this would be the easy stuff - making sure that programs like WIC stay fully funded. When people with fewer resources are given greater access to fresh foods, it isn't just good for them - in helping them be healthier, it reduces some of the stress on the nation's healthcare system. (Cheaper than a prescription for Ozempic, I think.) Plus, it addresses the national obesity problem, which experts say actually is a national security issue.
You'd think this would be the easy stuff. But not in this political climate, where nothing is easy.