11/29/04 — WIC: Taking advantage of a give-away program

View Archive

WIC: Taking advantage of a give-away program

Even if you appreciate government efforts to provide proper nutrition for children, you can only be disgusted by what is happening in the WIC program.

WIC, which stands for Women, Infants and Children, gives women vouchers which they can exchange at stores for certain types of foods in certain quantities.

You don’t have to be the poorest of the poor to get these vouchers. They are given to anyone with up to 185 percent of the income that the federal government considers the poverty line, provided there are children in the family. For a family of four, that’s nearly $35,000.

In the Triangle area, as reported by the News & Observer, businesses called WIC-only stores are opening. They offer only food that has WIC approval, and that makes shopping easy for people on the program.

What’s disgusting about that is that some of the WIC-only stores charge higher prices than ordinary supermarkets. The government pays for the vouchers even if it is being gouged.

In Goldsboro, the Kwik Stop on Ash Street has only WIC-approved items. A recent check showed that most prices ran higher than area grocery stores.

For example, an eight-ounce block of Kraft cheese at the Kwik Stop was $2.99, compared to $2.79 at the Winn Dixie, $2.35 at the Food Lion and $1.99 at the Piggly Wiggly.

Eggs at the Kwik Stop were $1.90 per dozen, the same price for large and extra large. Winn Dixie brand eggs were $1.29 for the large and $1.39 for the extra large. Food Lion had large store brand eggs for 86 cents that week and extra large for $1.39. Piggly Wiggly’s store brand eggs were $1.09 for large and $1.19 for extra large.

The Kwik Stop had 12 ounces of Minute Maid frozen orange juice for $2.75. It was $2 at the Winn Dixie and $1.69 at the Food Lion without a special discount card and $1.50 with it. The Piggly Wiggly had 12 ounces of Minute Maid for $1.49.

Many of the recipients of the vouchers don’t care.

You would think that if someone is providing free food for a mother and her children, the mother would appreciate it enough to avoid wasting her benefactor’s money.

Nearly every government give-away program, sooner or later, falls victim to corruption and greed.

As has been said here before, the government should combat hunger in this country by making low-cost non-perishable foods available to anyone without qualification. That would take the red tape and profiteering out of it.

Published in Editorials on November 29, 2004 9:52 AM