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How paying attention to one label at the grocery store, helps amid Coronavirus outbreak

(KOLNKGIN)
Published: Mar. 19, 2020 at 3:24 AM CDT
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Most people likely don’t think twice about it, but as grocery store shelves go empty amid the Coronavirus outbreak, you may want to pay closer attention to what you're choosing to put into your cart; it could mean all the difference in keeping some of our most vulnerable -- healthy.

Scattered across empty shelves, if you look closely, are items labeled ‘WIC’. It stands for ‘Women - Infants - and Children’. The state-run program helps pregnant, breastfeeding women and families with young kids meet their nutritional needs when they can’t otherwise afford it.

“You don’t have a lot of options you know with milk, or with cereal, with yogurt or fruit, it’s basically specific items you can get with WIC and nothing more,” said Lanaesia Devers, who’s pregnant with her second child.

Devers is one of 38,000 people who get referred to the WIC program each month in Nebraska and she depends on those WIC-labelled products being there, but lately, it’s been tough.

People are clearing out the shelves with people that do have WIC,” said Devers. “So it’s kind of hard to go in and get milk or just regular milk for your kids.”

Wednesday, Devers was lining up at the Together Food Pantry, where they’ve seen a big spike in numbers since the Coronavirus outbreak; It’s something Catholic Charities’ is also experiencing.

“We do know that we have an increase right now, said because of schools being out and families being concerned about not having enough with the children being home and so there’s a greater need right now.”

“We do know that we have an increase right now,” said Father Mike Eckley, Executive Director of Catholic Charities’. “Because of schools being out and families being concerned about not having enough with the children being home and so there’s a greater need right now.”

And while the pantries are in need of donations you may also consider not taking those WIC-labeled products off shelves.

I feel like they should leave that for people like me who really do need it,” said Devers.

The Together Food Pantry, along with the Catholic Charities’ pantries have started handing out pre-made boxes of food outside their buildings rather than allowing them in.

It’s a way of trying to keep people safe without cutting off services.