This has been remarkable that we have these resources in our community that allow us to be parents in a way that feels good and is meaningful to our family and to our children.
– Meg York
Spouses Meg, 36, and Jocelyn York, 31, discuss learning about the benefits of WIC as a middle-income family, and the importance of WIC support for their toddler and newborn as the COVID-19 lockdown began in Vermont. We hear first from Jocelyn.
Jocelyn: You and I grew up middle class, never really being in a position of food insecurity, so WIC wasn’t really a thing. But when I started working for a mental health agency, I would go visit clients, and many of them were on WIC.
Meg: I had more of an academic understanding of WIC when I was studying in college about resources available to lower-income families. And I never really thought of our family as lower income. However, we were constantly struggling with money and struggling with groceries. And by the time we had our first child, Ida, we were trying to balance being able to afford the types of food that would give her good nutrition while also trying to pay our bills and make our ends meet. But I think because we always saw ourselves as not in such a financial position as some of the people that we had been assisting through our jobs, we never really saw ourselves as somebody could access that resource. And then that changed one day when you were getting your haircut.
Jocelyn: Right. I was like, “I just want to be able to feed my child good food that’s healthy. I don’t want to keep buying whatever’s cheapest. I don’t want to skimp on fruits and vegetables because everything’s so expensive.” And the person cutting my hair was like, “Well, why aren’t you on WIC then?” I was like, “What are you talking about? I don’t qualify for WIC.” She asked if our daughter Ida was on Vermont Medicaid for children. And I was like, yeah. And she said that we could get WIC.
Meg: So then I based on that information took Ida and me to our first WIC appointment. Not only did they accommodate our vegan diet, but being on WIC also helped us learn how to be more creative with food and feed Ida really interesting healthy things on a lower budget.
And when we had Georgia, the day everything shut down. We hadn’t stocked up or prepared or done anything. And we’re at home with a newborn, and a high needs, high energy toddler. But then I got the call from Brooke, I think her name is, from our local office. And she said, I actually just called the co-op, and they’ve confirmed that they will do WIC curbside pickup. So that was really an amazing accommodation that quite frankly, like we were struggling with. This has been remarkable that we have these resources in our community, that allow us to be parents in a way that feels good and is meaningful to our family and to our children.
This segment was produced by StoryCorps, a non-profit whose mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world. It was made possible with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and in partnership with the National WIC Association.