Monday, February 14, 2011

Change #19 Republicans Propose Cutting WIC’s Budget: Write Your Congress Representative Today!

Dear Birth Peeps,
Since the beginning of time there have always been the Haves and the HaveNots. Not only is the discrepancy between the Haves and HaveNots widening, but, it infuriates me when certain wealthy people in power show so little compassion and concern for the HaveNots. Sometimes changing birth in our culture involves writing a letter to our (well fed) state representatives.

Lots of parents worry about feeding their kids, especially parents who are living at or below poverty. When pregnant women and young parents have to choose between healthy food, and enough of it, and paying rent... they often opt for cheap food: high carbohydrate, processed food. Milk, fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy meats and fish are luxuries.

The recession, unemployment, and foreclosures have hit low-income families the hardest. One of the fastest growing segments of the homeless population is families with children. Single mothers working at minimum wage who can’t pay rent, mortgage, and all the bills—especially if they lose their job—are finding themselves living in stressful, over-crowded living situations, on the streets, or in shelters. Research indicates that the increase among poverty and homelessness is disproportionately attributed to mothers and children. The Brookings Institute found a 34% increase in homelessness in 2009, with a 24% increase in children who are homeless.

In New Mexico, about a fourth of our kids and families go to bed hungry every night. These parents have to choose daily between eating (or eating better foods) or paying rent.

Recently President Obama announced a noble goal to end childhood hunger by 2015. Then, last week Republicans proposed budget cuts. Birth Peeps need to speak out on behalf of one in particular, cutting nutrition supplements (WIC) to low-income mothers and children by 10 percent. If this passes, millions of low-income families will be affected.

Republican Harold Rogers from Kentucky said: “We have taken a wire brush to the budget and scoured every program to find real savings that are responsible and justifiable to the American people. Make no mistake, these cuts are not low hanging fruit.”

Once again, they have taken the wire brush to underserved mothers and children who can’t even afford to pick or buy fresh fruit! How is taking food supplements from the tables of low-income mothers and children responsible and justifiable, especially during a recession, with unemployment and foreclosures? I’m sure the world would benefit from taking that wire brush to other “programs” that cost billions.

W.I.C. (a Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children) started as a pilot project in 1972 (and was established in 1974) in response to concern about under-nutrition of mothers during critical stages of fetal and infant growth and development.

WIC provides specific nutritious foods, nutrition education, and health care referrals at no cost to its low-income participants. Mothers who are pregnant or nursing, and their child up to five years old, who meet certain income requirements and are thus “at nutritional risk” are eligible for WIC. In 2010, over 9 million women and children were enrolled in WIC (9, 175, 429 to be exact). The states with the highest enrollment were New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, but the number of people living marginally at poverty level or in dire poverty are rising in every state.

The Republicans want to cut WIC’s funding by 10%, which is about 758 million.

This proposal will be voted on this week. Don’t Delay!! Today, write or call your Representative and let them know that we, a wealthy country Must Feed all of our Mothers and Children. The unborn and the infants of low-income women are our future; if our children’s brains, bodies, and psyches are starved during this crucial formative phase of life, no amount of nutrition can make up for it later.



  1. Rrrrr! Its SO INFURIATING!!!!! I am so fed up and wounded around the political arena. Part of me just wants to turn away, and forget. But, as your post reminds us, when we do that people suffer. I guess a letter has to be enough. But, it sure doesn't feel like enough. But, what I want to know is, How can I "fight" against terrible things happening without attracting more of it? Am I not just feeding the energy of what I don't want if I'm focusing on that which I am fighting? How can I cultivate change that is positive in a system that I am so angry and hurt over?
    I guess speaking out to our representatives and sending love to those we are fighting for is what we can do. I wish when I was being a good citizen by speaking up, it didn't leave me with feelings of anger, disappointment, judgement, fear, and sadness. Maybe others feel the same. Perhaps that is why so many choose not to participate. (Or they just choose to look the other way and continue on their quest for greater and greater amounts of comfort and pleasure.)

    So, here's to the power of love directed. I hold in my heart all those mothers and babies struggling to fulfill basic needs. May they be held. May their bellies be filled. May they be given opportunities for experiencing the goodness in life. May they be blessed with love. May the supports in their life expand and expand and expand!

    I will send a letter to my representative, and I will do it with love in my heart for all those mamas, and all those babies, and all those babies' babies.

    And, when the fear creeps back into my heart, it will surely shutter, for part of it will know-- it doesn't stand a chance!

    - An evolving citizen

  2. Aloha Blair, Evolving Citizen!

    So good to hear from you. If you are called to action, act, then do what needs to be done next. We must act without "attachment" to the outcome. That way the question of enough is no longer a question.

    I was so touched by your "prayer" for all mothers and babies bellies to be full. My heart was full to read your response,