Home Health Parents News Now Government Nutrition Program for Mothers, Children Threatened by Shutdown Government Nutrition Program for Mothers, Children Threatened by Shutdown By Holly Lebowitz Rossi October 02, 2013 Advertisement Save Pin FB More Tweet Email Send Text Message Print shutterstock_66437377 30555 "No additional federal funds would be available," to continue the program in the event of a shutdown, the United States Department of Agriculture, which runs WIC, said on its website. "States may have some funds available ... to continue operations for a week or so, but states would likely be unable to sustain operations for a longer period." There are just under nine million women and children on the program, according to USDA. The average monthly benefit is about $45. That often comes on top of about $135 a month in food stamp benefits. WIC benefits mandate the money can only be spent on an approved list of healthy foods. Suspending the program is a terrible idea, said Rev. Douglas Greenaway, head of the National WIC Association, which represents the regional offices that administer the programs. While a suspension would only be temporary, it would send the wrong message to mothers, and perhaps convincing some that it's not worth signing up for, he said. Greenaway said the program actually saves taxpayers money. It costs $20,000 per pound to bring a premature child up to normal weight, he said. All told, for every $1 spent the program saves $4.21 in medical costs, he said. Image: Mother feeding baby, via Shutterstock By Holly Lebowitz Rossi Save Pin FB More Tweet Email Send Text Message Print Comments Add a Comment Be the first to comment! No comments yet. Advertisement Close this dialog window Add a comment Government Nutrition Program for Mothers, Children Threatened by Shutdown Add your comment... Cancel Submit Success! Thanks for adding your feedback.