West Texas WIC Helps Families Across the Basin

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

It's an economic climate forcing more and more West Texas families to ask for help. And many moms and children are turning to WIC, helping women, infants, and children.

It's an opportunity that teaches about and pays for nutritional food for families and the demand is higher than ever.

"Our case load has been increasing about 10% each month this year and we assume that's because of the economy," WIC Director Judy Harden, said. "Now we're seeing it gradually go up as people lose their jobs or get their hours cut back a little bit."

WIC clinics serve 12,000 clients across 16 West Texas counties offering individual and group counseling along with about $50 each month toward groceries like milk, cereal, and peanut butter.

"We've got people who just finished up their first degree and just got their first job," Harden said. "And then we have people who've been in the job market a long time and now they're not or their job has changed we've had teachers, we've had oilfield workers, farmers and everything in between.

"We're getting a lot of people whose husbands have lost their jobs and a lot of people coming in from out of state looking for jobs here that were on WIC out of state and they're being transferred into us," , Call Center Operator Lea Venegas said. "So we're looking at a big volume of people coming in."

They say if the calls continue to pour in, WIC may consider adding additional staff members in the future.