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COVID-19: How WIC Families are Coping

Updated: Apr 2

Right now, many Americans are adjusting to the new normal of COVID-19. But how are WIC families coping? Our wichealthBlog editors reached out to WIC parents and asked them a few questions about buying groceries, keeping kids learning and having fun, and much more. Read their wisdom below!

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“What I'm struggling the most with is the feeling of extreme isolation from being inside around the clock with my tiny humans.” -Lia


“Anxiety and worries about health and the future.” -Kanmani


“My biggest problem so far is keeping my 3 year old active and not in front of the TV. We used to go to the park and zoo often and now we’re stuck at home. Her daycare is still opened for now, and we’ve been attending at least 3 days a week.” -Belinda


“I think my biggest struggle would be my anxiety. I’ve always been one to be “paranoid” about germs and what I touch, but now it’s cranked up really high and it’s hard to not panic when I have to go out.” -Monica


“What I’m struggling most with is trying to make my child eat actual baby food instead of grown up food. We have been feeding my baby table food since he was 5 months and he loves it so much that it is what he expects to eat. Since he’s a baby, he does not realize he needs the baby food to make his body grow properly.” -Victoria

“I am struggling with going places. Every time we go into 7-Eleven we have to stay 6 feet away from others. It is tough trying to find milk. The store was all out of 1% milk which is what WIC provides to me. I had to go to a completely different store to get it and I don't have a car so my dad had to take me which was scary for him due to the no driving thing. And all the diapers and wipes are all wiped out of the stores. I got the last bag of size 5s and was lucky to get some wipes.” -Sarah


I am struggling mostly with my mental attitude. I have not been able to get out and go to exercise classes which is really making a negative impact in my life. I have tried to get exercise by riding a bike and walking but it is just not the same. It has been very hard for me to be secluded for what is now going on 3 weeks. We started self quarantine as soon as it started to get bad in Washington. My husband has been out of work for 3 weeks as well so the stress has been very intense. I haven't had to deal with anxiety much but it is becoming an issue now. I realized that I need to get out of the house and into nature to be able to cope with the stress. My husband, daughter and myself have gone hiking every few days and that makes a huge difference. I am also restricting my viewing of any news or social media regarding coronavirus, especially in the morning. I can imagine that I am not the only one feeling anxious and stressed out. I'm just lucky that my family is safe at this time.” -Carissa


“What I’m most concerned about is not exposing my daughter to the virus. Explaining this situation to her has been hard every time. She says, let’s go to the park or to the store! And then my husband or I needs to explain again that we can not share space with people outside. We try to take her to walk outside around the block so she can do some walking or bike (15 or 30 min). We are taking the precautions to not stay close to other people.” -Guadalupe


We are staying home, washing hands, using sanitizer and cleaning really well. When we do go out we cover our noses and mouths. Although my daughter is only 3 she senses that something is wrong and seems to want extra attention and is acting out when she doesn’t get her way.”

-Belinda


“I am still brainstorming a solution. But a way I have been coping is to come up with art and craft boxes with my sister (also a mama) to sell to other moms in need of fun activities to do with their little ones. I am holding dance offs with my kids...I have also started to vlog what I create in the kitchen with my oldest. ” -Lia


Yes. Staying in the house. I can't work now and my husband works from home now.” -Kanmani



“When you see the news and what’s going on in other countries you figure it out. You just need to stop the spread and you need as much as you can to stay home. It is the only way you can flatten the curve of cases. Out there, there are so many people trying to keep essential things working that we need. People working in hospitals, pharmacies, garbage collectors, public transportation drivers, grocery store staff members and many more. They need to be healthy and we need to do our part in this, and be responsible for them, for us, and our families. We (my husband, my daughter and I) are trying to stay at home mostly. My husband is working from home. My daughter misses going to the playground in the park. Once a week we go to do the grocery shopping for the next few days. The most challenging thing has been creating new activities to do with my daughter so she doesn’t get bored. She is 4 years old now, and still not enrolled in school. So I am used to being with her at home all day. But I can imagine that for many moms that their children already were going to school. And now having them at home under this situation can be a very big challenge. My advice is: try to keep your mind busy with something. Parents are very creative under these kinds of situations.” -Guadalupe


“I am sheltering-in-place and it’s not as difficult as I thought it would be, but then again I can be a homebody. My family and I have breakfast between 9-11am and the kids will either work on some school work, reading, puzzles/educational or board games, or complete any chores that need to be done. By noontime, they play outside in the backyard or plant in our garden. After lunch, we choose a movie and relax a bit or my older kids play video games. Then dinner and again some board games or reading, maybe a worksheet from school if they’d like, and then bedtime.” -Monica


“We have been sheltering in place for three weeks now. We have been to the grocery store about twice since then and taking great precaution while there and upon returning home. We use lysol wipes to wipe all items from the store and wash our reusable bags after getting home. Getting my 3 year old to wash hands constantly has been challenging, to say the least. We try to explain in simple, non fearful details that people are sick and we do not want to be, therefore we need to wash and sanitize regularly. She's a little spitfire so it's been a lesson in patience for us. We are focusing on getting things done around the house that have been put off for months (or years?!) and getting outside for exercise and fresh air. That has been key for us- getting outside. It's a very unique time and situation and we are trying to do our best to stay calm, be safe and to be grateful that we are healthy. I can imagine it is incredibly difficult for those single parents out there. Hopefully things will improve soon.”

-Carissa


“It is a risky affair as there aren't many guidelines on maintaining social distancing in the store. The number of cases is rising in my state steadily and people don't seem to take precautions.” -Kanmani


It has been tough buying food with the long lines and limited supply on shelves.” -Lia


“Well when they started the emergency alert in my state, going to the grocery store to shop was a little chaotic. Most of the shelves were empty. Other stores were overcrowded and there were long lines at the cashier sections. But now, under the order of stay at home, it is a little easier to go to get food. It is not crowded and you can find more items.” -Guadalupe

“I have been able to use my WIC with zero issues, but a lot of “our” items have been wiped out, so it’s a struggle. I usually shop at regular grocery stores, so I may have to change where I go and try to get lucky there!” -Monica


“I have been able to use WIC benefits just fine with the WIC card. All the cashiers mention that the card is so much easier for them. It makes life much easier to swipe a card instead of dealing with paper vouchers. The paper vouchers can be torn, get wet etc.” -Victoria

“Yes. But it is not so easy to spend time at the store and find everything.” -Kanmani

“Yes, I was able to use it without any problem. Well, under this situation you sometimes cannot find some items.” -Guadalupe

“I was fortunate to have a very hard childhood and learned how to save money and make healthy economical meals.” -Belinda

“My experience with buying foods has been a little challenging. I limit my shopping now to once every two weeks, and I try to keep it at one store for everything, so I may not always be able to find everything I need. If this happens, I either change my meal plan altogether or find something different, and sometimes new, to use as a substitute. This also has been sharpening my culinary skills.” -Monica


“Trying to go to the store during off-peak times, being very clear on what to buy before going to the store, wearing a mask and gloves, maintaining social distancing in the store as much as possible, washing up thoroughly and changing clothes worn to the store right away to wash them. We collect the clothes worn outside in a separate bin in our back porch. Culturally, we also leave our footwear at the door. This might help too.” -Kanmani


Many WIC families are experiencing worry during the current COVID-19 outbreak. We at wichealth are here to help. Below are a few resources we created to assist you during this time. Please reach out to your local WIC clinic if you need additional help to feed your family.


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