Food vouchers for WIC program
Title: Stores specializing in food vouchers bill for top prices
Source: New York Times
Date: June 6, 2004
From the article:
- The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC, helps feed 7.7 million people each month by providing vouchers for infant formula, juice, eggs, milk, cheese, cereal and dried beans. A growing number of stores now are selling only to WIC families, accepting only WIC vouchers for payment.
The article also contains this amazing statistic: "About 47 percent of all babies born in the United States each year participate in the [WIC] program."
47 percent of all babies in the United States are now poor.
Enrolling in the WIC program is not trivial. There are income requirements based on federal poverty guidelines. In addition, according to this page:
- "Applicants must be seen by a health professional such as a physician, nurse, or nutritionist who must determine whether the individual is at nutrition risk. In many cases, this is done in the WIC clinic at no cost to the applicant. However, this information can be obtained from another health professional such as the applicant's physician... At a minimum, the applicant's height and weight must be measured and bloodwork taken to check for anemia."
Nearly half of babies in the U.S. have been through that application process and have been found to be in need of supplemental food vouchers.
This data on WIC meshes with data from the National School Lunch Program. Students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches based on the following criteria:
- Any child at a participating school may purchase a meal through the National School Lunch Program. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the poverty level are eligible for free meals. Those with incomes between 130 percent and 185 percent of the poverty level are eligible for reduced-price meals, for which students can be charged no more than 40 cents. (For the period July 1, 2003, through June 30, 2004, 130 percent of the poverty level is $23,920 for a family of four; 185 percent is $34,040.)
According to the 2004 World Almanac (page 289), there were 47.2 million students enrolled in elementary and secondary schools in 2000-2001. So 55% of all students in the U.S. have taken the time to apply for, and now receive, free and reduced lunches. Some families would not apply, which means that well over 55% of all families with children in the U.S. are making less than $34,040 as their household income. That is also a remarkable statistic.
These statistics represent the concentration of wealth at work. Executives are making millions of dollars per year. They are receiving patently ridiculous severance packages. Meanwhile, workers in America are making less and less, to the point where more than half of the kids in this country are now receiving food assistance.