Over the past month, local WIC staff from all over California engaged participants and other WIC allies in an amazing grassroots campaign. The WE NEED WIC campaign has given WIC participants a chance to have their say, and they have responded! Thousands of them have written heartfelt messages on paper plates, which are streaming into our office daily. Over 40,000 plates have already been collected! In addition, many individuals recorded their personal stories on video, which are posted on our YouTube site.
The messages are in many languages besides English and Spanish, including Chinese, Vietnamese, French, Russian and even Mongolian! These authentic WIC voices are overwhelmingly positive and grateful, thanking WIC not only for making healthy foods more affordable, but for providing high-quality nutrition education and critically needed breastfeeding support in a welcoming and friendly atmosphere.
Here are some snippets:
“Thank you WIC for everything you guys do!...My husband found resources for his job search… The support groups are very helpful because you know you’re not the only one…They provided an electric breast pump while I worked … I am learning to be a better mom ... I have no job and am renting a room in a relative’s house. My unemployment does not pay enough for bills, laundry, diapers, so WIC helps me feed my KIDS! And they are the future! … I never could have breastfed my daughter without your help! ... WIC opens a whole new world of different types of healthy food. They show me what and how to eat and cook new foods … Information from classes makes me more confident and relax to be a new mom! ... We get hands-on details and a closer, more realistic point of view instead of going to the doctor’s office where they rush us out … Being a refugee, I would like to say that WIC has contributed a great part of my children well-being. Furthermore, WIC staff is very welcoming and friendly.”
Local agency staff, who coordinated this campaign on the frontlines, report being extremely touched and gratified by these messages. As Katy Dyrr, WIC Coordinator of Plumas Rural Services, wrote: “We enjoyed doing this – it was really validating for staff to read the positive things participants had to write!”Thanks to all who worked so hard to give WIC families a voice through this campaign! We will share these important constituent messages with every California member of Congress, urging them to protect WIC during the next phase of the deficit reduction debate.