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Here's The Reason You Shouldn't Panic-Buy WIC-Approved Groceries While Stocking Up

Keep this in mind while you are stocking up!

By now, you've surely seen photos of people panic-buying everything from milk to ground beef as they prepare to stay home during the coronavirus outbreak.

And while people shouldn't hoard excess food, toilet paper, etc. to begin with, Suit Up Maine, a state volunteer group, shared an important tip to keep in mind while stocking up.

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

They advised people to avoid purchasing items labeled WIC.

WIC refers to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, a federal program that assists low-income women, toddlers, or children under the age of 5.

If non-WIC recipients buy out all the WIC-labeled items, people who use WIC to feed their families will be unable to do so. And if there are no other WIC-approved options, WIC recipients might be unable to buy anything at all.

So, what foods are included in the WIC program? Staples like infant cereal, milk, eggs, and canned goods.

Suit Up Maine's message was picked up by others all across Twitter, including Kerry Washington.

When stocking up for #SocialDistancing...If you see something labeled “WIC” please chose another brand. People who rely on WIC products to feed their kids cannot. We’re all in this together 🙏🏾

And former WIC recipients were grateful to Suit Up Maine for raising awareness.

@SuitUpMaine My family used WIC early in my Air Force career. This is so important to families that really need the assistance to feed their young children. Thank you for raising awareness to help those families now.

Later, Suit Up Maine clarified that states can request waivers to allow for WIC item substitutions, which they were working on for the state of Maine.

To clarify: Each state must request a waiver from the USDA that allows for WIC-approved items to be substituted if stores are out of the approved brands/sizes. Please contact your members of Congress and/or state legislators/DHHS ASAP and ask them to request a waiver!

So, be aware while stocking up your homes — and look out for the WIC label!