The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in millions of Americans struggling to keep food on the table while farmers continue to take a hit from unprecedented market disruption. In response to the national emergency, Congresswoman Kim Schrier, M.D. (Wash.) and Congressman Ron Wright (Texas) have introduced the bipartisan WIC Benefit Flexibility During COVID-19 Act (H.R. 6726) that will give Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program recipients the ability to purchase more fresh fruits and vegetables.
This legislation will allow states to increase WIC cash value vouchers for fresh fruits and vegetables to $35, an increase of about $25, through September 30, 2020. In a letter sent to Congress on April 15, the Academy called for an increase in the cash value benefit to ensure that WIC recipients had access to nutritious food during the pandemic while helping to support farmers and reduce food waste.
It is critical for the health of our nation for elected officials to prioritize access to healthy food as the coronavirus has disproportionately impacted those who suffer from diet related diseases as well as communities of color. The Academy applauds the collaboration between Congresswoman Schrier and Congressman Wright during this national crisis.