COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, has reached America and state governments are starting to take action. A couple of days ago, Donald Trump declared a national emergency and many cities and towns are shutting down non-essential services.
People are being encouraged to practice “social distancing,” or staying home and away from social gatherings like bars and restaurants, concerts and more. Part of social distancing has included stocking up on essential items to limit the amount of time spent out of the house.
As we’re entering a new territory, people are sharing how to help others. Suit Up Maine, an all-volunteer progressive action group, tweeted out a tip for those who are trying to be mindful of others during this stressful time.
When stocking up for #SocialDistancing, if an item has a WIC symbol beside the price, get something else. People who use WIC to feed their kids can't switch to another brand or kind of food. If a store runs out of WIC-approved options, they will go home empty-handed.#mepolitics pic.twitter.com/oFRts6Rcbc— Suit Up Maine (@SuitUpMaine) March 16, 2020
Further down the thread, Suit Up Maine elaborated on why it’s important for non-WIC recipients to avoid these labels:
We are asking families who have a choice of items on a shelf to choose one that does not have the WIC label. You can choose a different item and leave with it. WIC recipients have no choice. If the approved items are gone, they leave the store and return to their kids w nothing.— Suit Up Maine (@SuitUpMaine) March 16, 2020
And explained how not every state’s label looks like Maine’s.
Most national grocery chains have some sort of labeling system like this one, although the colors/font/style might be different.— Suit Up Maine (@SuitUpMaine) March 16, 2020
The tweet received 25.2k likes and 17.8k retweets at the time of this writing.
A few people never realized WIC-approved foods were labeled on shelves.
This!— Joanne Freeman (@jbf1755) March 16, 2020
I hadn't thought of this before. https://t.co/FO3SVNOwod
This is a helpful piece of information I didn't know. Something to keep in mind when stocking up. https://t.co/wvTNmyUFuG— Katy Hinman (@RevBatgirl) March 16, 2020
Learn something new everyday. Keep an eye out for the WIC symbol and buy an alternative if you can. Also contact you local officials to get waivers in place for your state. https://t.co/IR6hfhaiNx— danielled (@danielled) March 16, 2020
And others reshared the tip so their networks could know to keep an eye out for grocery store labels.
This is a good tip. Grocery stores are chaotic right now, and there aren’t a lot of choices, but when you have them, please consider what you’re leaving behind for others. https://t.co/gFwJONQCh1— Jamison Foser (@jamisonfoser) March 16, 2020
The WIC sticker might look different in different places. But please keep this in mind https://t.co/NPi1qwEvZp— Amanda McColgan (@EnfieldArtsMA) March 16, 2020
Please RT - SO important!— Jackie SBUWGSS (@jackieSBUwgss) March 16, 2020
WIC = "Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants & Children" provides supplemental foods, etc for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, & non-breastfeeding postpartum women & children who are at nutritional risk. https://t.co/7J8D41C3Jb https://t.co/WAZ7xAQMNu
yeah, this is a good tip! WIC is insanely restrictive — if you're on the program, you're limited to a narrow list of approved foods. there are no substitutions.— Joshua Rivera (@jmrivera02) March 16, 2020
(WIC lets low-income parents get baseline nutrition for their kids: https://t.co/aYxTKius4b) https://t.co/rqrT2ogrk2
WIC was established as an amendment to section 17 of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 in September 1972 and was established as a permanent program in 1975. The federal assistance program offers healthcare and nutrition to low-income women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or have children under the age of five. People are eligible for WIC benefits if they have a family income of 185 percent below the federal poverty level, which is currently at a $24,250 threshold for a family of four.