Saturday, February 21, 2009

Accepting WIC

A reader left the following comment on my last post:

I think it is awesome that you are looking for uses for the WIC donations, but this is a very unique time to most of our delicate histories, and personally I think you should not be accepting the WIC food if you cannot use it. Many other WIC families need that food and supplies are limited, as well as the funding which has all been cut recently and will only continue to dwindle. Please leave those resources for someone who cannot live without them.

I'm certain I don't know this person and I'm also certain I didn't ask for opinions as to whether I should or should not accept WIC. I'm certain she does not know our family or our circumstances. I never said I couldn't USE the food, but the types of food families receive seem skewed to me (i.e. the disproportionate amounts of cheese). Therefore, I'm looking for ways to incorporate these things.

Did this reader also fail to see where I said we donate unused food to the Jesus Cupboard at our church to feed the needy in our community? We currently have so many calls for food at our church, we cannot handle them all. The WIC we cannot use goes to feed others. We also donate more, but that is irrelevant and would be inappropriate for me to even discuss.

I'm also not convinced that our income is relevant. My children are adopted from foster care and receive government assistance because of that. The state gives these resources to the children, not on the basis of the income of the parents. If we limit assistance for foster children who are taken in by people in poverty or just above the poverty level, then we keep those children in the poverty they came from. The WIC is in their names, not ours.

It might also be a good time to mention that we also get a monthly adoption subsidy for our children that will last until they are 18. There are many months that we anticipate the day the check is deposited so we can stock up on diapers and wipes, laundry detergent, bread, meat, and all the other life necessities that WIC vouchers don't touch. We consider this a gift from the Lord, and use it for things we would not normally be able to afford, like extra-curricular activities such as swimming, dance lessons, music lessons, and advanced reading curriculum. It's to benefit them, and we use it for them.

Anyone else use WIC, or not and would care to comment? It seems I've opened up a larger topic than just recipes.

But it is so fascinating to see those who quickly jump to judgment of another without knowing them.


Faith said...

Well, I don't know about your county, but where I'm at, I see a lot of people on WIC that are taking advantage of the system (like my foster kids biological parents who used their kids WIC vouchers for several months after the kids were no longer with them -- and I know that for a FACT because one of the WIC folks let it slip) and I'm sure there are other instances/circumstances as well.

You said it right in that the vouchers are for the kids because of their foster child status, and personally speaking, if we are unable to use all of it, there are folks in my church who are temporarily laid off or just low income, who are NOT taking advantage of the system and I know they could really use the food. I don't see how that is abusing the system.

I guess that's my opinion, but if we're going to judge people on it, then why attack foster parents who are doing a good thing for these kids, why not attack the people who should be out looking for a job instead of milking the system. And don't even get me started on the fact that when I have been in the WIC office, a large portion of the folks are not even from this country....

Anyways, God bless you for taking in children. As a fellow foster and adoptive parent, I know quite well how tough the job can be (and I'm sure there are tougher times ahead) but just hang in there.

MFA Mama said...

Well, since this time you asked, I will come right out and say that my kids get WIC because their father ran off with every cent we had and all three of them have special needs, which means I can't work. And we use EVERY SCRAP of that food, the cheese, the milk, the peanut butter, the eggs, because if we don't? We won't have enough to eat. And honestly, the accepting of a government program's funds (or, in this case, food) to donate (in part) to a church-related charity would seem to be getting into a church/state area that I really feel ought to remain separate. My family is Jewish, and we don't accept church aid because it often comes with a side of evangelism that my children aren't old enough to understand, so in my mind accepting WIC (which as you mentioned the people going to the church for help COULD probably qualify for) and giving it to a church-related charity is funneling off aid you don't currently have a need for (apparently you're good on cheese for a bit) and diverting it to a charity that doesn't serve anyone in need (and I realize that it may OFFER to serve anyone in need but there may be other families like mine who aren't comfortable COMING to a church of a different denomination for need). Plus there is the whole "if you don't personally need and eat every bit of that food then why get it?" I know for a fact that you can get some items (the eggs and the juice, say) but not others on each WIC check. Since you asked.

SD said...

I foster and have also adopted from the foster care system as well. Both our babies get wic. I was not sure my little adopted one was allowed but he was legally allowed to retain those benefits as part of supporting him. we are thankful for it and do not abuse it. everything goes to the kids. if a check cannot be used ( i went shopping late for example) then i return the unused check back to the wic office and the money is not wasted. I agree there are some diporportionate amounts of food on the checks to be used such as juice-we get a lot-and I either don't use the checks or donate it. I am tired of people judging foster families ---it is sooo old.

Tamara said...

To clarify, I have no problem donating state food to my church. Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, so the "mixing of church and state" is normal and natural for me. It's all the Lord's - all of it. And, no, our assistance to the community is not dependent on people listening to evangelism. If we serve others, Jesus will reveal himself. Our church cupboard is often bare - no I have no problem funneling extra WIC food there, so I get everything on my vouchers. If there were more to get (and therefore more to share), I'd get that too.

Ms. J said...

Just curious . . . does the WIC benefits and motnthly stipend until age 18 unique to your state? Or is it something each state does for finalized domestic adoptions (when child comes via the public social services system, as opposed to a private adoption). Certainly, an international adoption, no matter what medical need the child has, does not receive WIC or a monthly stipend (not complaining, just stating a fact in case others reading mistakenly believe that international adoptions also receive such benefits).

We were required to prove that our child would also have health insurance before we were approved for adoption. My employer only pays for my health premium, so I pay $330 a month for Lil Pumpkin, and an additional $330 a month for my husband.

Just educating myself, since we are considering a domestic adoption (via Catholic CHarities) for a second child to grow our family.

Micky said...

MFA MAMA, you obviously have a little extra money to pay for internet, why don't you buy food instead?

Ms. J, if your children receive medicaid, automaticaly can qualify for WIC, as everybody know medicaid is income based, except if your children are adopted through FC. Children that are adopted abroad are considered american citizen, therefore can apply for these servicies, if they meet the poverty guidelines. The same goes for SSI.

Marthavmuffin said...

They cut off our WIC once we adopted. And you are right I used it too. And I would still be using it if we were still getting it.

They also cut off our Daycare reimbursement when we adopted.

We do still get a subsidy each month for adopting her, and she will get a college education (Tuition)in this state at no charge and she gets Medicaid until she is 18.

And I am not going to justify the reasons we use and did use those funding sources.

Overwhelmed! said...

First of all, passing judgement on a foster parent for using (or not using) WIC is ridiculous! I'm sorry Tamara that you're getting slack for your post.

As for your question, we used WIC for our first foster daughter, Baby Bug, who came to us at 3 weeks old, mainly for the formula. We never got the juice because we felt she didn't need it so young and we stopped getting the rice cereal because we just ended up with too much! But getting the formula was a Godsend because that stuff is pricy! And as we got closer to the time where she was spending more time with her parents in preparation for reunification, we sent the WIC formula home to her parents during visits so that she had it there as well.

Now, with our second foster daughter, Boo, who came to us at a year old, we never did take advantage of WIC benefits. Part of the reason is because it felt humiliating to have to go to WIC for the checks and watch the videos and part of the reason is because we really didn't need the help providing milk/cheese/peanut butter for her. Having her join our family really didn't increase our grocery bill enough to justify the hassle of it.

So, I've gone both ways.

Bottom line though, these benefits are for the kids and as long as they're being used for the kids, it's all good!

Amanda said...

Your babies are entitled to WIC, period. It's at your discretion how to use it because you are their parents and that's your choice. Period.

I use WIC for my foster daughter and I hope that it continues once she is adopted.

That said, I ONLY get what I can use. I do not get extra food and donate it to other charities, as I feel WIC is an entitlement for my children, not for me or my family, since my family itself does not qualify.

I suspect that the particular amounts of particular foods (so much dairy and cereal, really???) are in place because they subsidize key parts of our agricultural system... which is kind of wonky.

Dream Mommy said...

I consider it part of my "federal tax refund" and donate unused food to church for the families who make just a little too much to get assistance, but not enough to buy enough food. I don't always have the patience to keep it up though.

JUST A MOM said...

wow how did you open up that one.. Like it is anyone's buisness to say what you should or should not do with what you get. Not like you are a grown person who knows what to do with your own life... oh wait maybe you need to be told what to do with other things... ummm maybe find that person and see just what she does for a living. How does she care for her kids,, How many chidlren has she taken into her home and loved oh wait I will stop now.. I hope it is warm where you are because who knows you might be able to trade off some cheese for a blanket ok enough I am up way too late not being able to sleep waiting to move into my very own home... chin up your doing great.

Misty said...

I use WIC because my son is Lactose Intolerant and has to have Lactose Free milk which can cost around $3.50 or $4.00 for a HALF gallon in my area. If it weren't for WIC, my son would probably not be getting the milk he needs. And when he was an infant we definitely used the formula vouchers. I was on pain medication due to my disability and did not breastfeed. As for donating unused items, my son NEVER used infant cereal. He would only eat the kind in the baby food jars, so I always donated his cereal to the food pantry.

Jamie said...

What state are you in? I was adopted and my parents received no state assistance after my adoption was finalized