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WIC program "holding on" in Southeast Texas
PORT ARTHUR - by Ashley Gaston - While families are trying to find their way through the health care changes other parents are waiting to learn the impact of the government shutdown on their lives.
If the shutdown continues for another month it could impact the WIC program.
The program provides baby formula to 48 hundred mothers in Beaumont and Port Arthur.
A young mother spoke to Ashley Gaston about the program and how critical it is to her family.
This 22 year old mother is answering questions at the Port Arthur WIC office.
It's part of the screening process so Tykia Green can get formula for her 17 day old son Bryson and food for herself.
He wasn't breathing when he came, said Tykia Green.
Bryson spent 11 days in a neo-natal intensive care unit.
He was born with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck.
Now he's making a lot of improvements, said Green.
The Port Arthur WIC clinical supervisor is learning about Bryson and his mother, their home life, their eating habits, and the family's financial situation.
Our responsibility is to teach them healthy habits, said Yvonne Howard.
3300 mothers including green receive WIC benefits every month from the program in Port Arthur.
The whole focus is to get our babies growing properly and formula plays a large role in brain development, physical development in keeping babies on, said Howard.
Despite the government shutdown, Texas WIC has enough resources to provide mothers with formula for the next month. What happens after that is uncertain.
It would be a devastation, chaotic, to a lot of families, teen moms who rely on formula for infants, it will send a lot of people into turmoil trying to find out ways to provide formula, said Howard.
Green will get the formula for her newborn son without worrying about where she'll get the money to pay for it during the next 30 days.
The WIC program helps nearly 9 million mothers and children across the nation.