Even with inflation easing, families are still relying on food banks to help feed their families. Over a period of a year, grocery prices rose 13.1%.
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Millions of eligible people do not participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children program, which is largely inflation-proof: Most food allowances, for example, are determined by the size of the item as opposed to price. Many say outdated technology, stigma and parents’ difficulty in getting to required health care checks remain barriers.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, WIC has added telehealth, remote benefit and other advances that advocates hope will encourage more significant engagement. WIC also has increased the subsidy for vegetables, said Brian Dittmeier of the National WIC Association.
Nearly 30 states, including California and North Carolina, have seen significant increases in the number of people signing up, according to the nonprofit Food Research & Action Center. In contrast, the remaining states – such as Georgia, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma – have seen declines.
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