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VERIFY: Families using WIC benefits can shop all month long

A social media post says there will be a surge of families looking for WIC approved food which can’t be substituted if it is not in stock.

HOUSTON — People are turning to social media to help families who depend on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.

It comes across as a selfless plea to others: “Avoid grocery shopping on April 1-3 unless you have a critical need.”

The viral post has been shared countless times.

It tells people that low-income families who depend on food through WIC or SNAP had their benefits reloaded at the beginning of the month.

It goes on to say there will be a surge of families looking for WIC approved food which can’t be substituted if it is not in stock.

But, is everything in this post true?

To VERIFY we reached out to the National WIC Association and Texas Health and Human Services.

The National WIC Association said each state issues benefits at different times throughout the month.

In Texas, benefits are distributed on the first of every month.

Also, Texas Health and Human Services said because COVID-19 has made it harder to keep WIC approved foods stocked they’ve made some temporary changes.

Credit: AP
Grocery bags loaded with food from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, better known as WIC, sit in a cart before being loaded into a vehicle in Jackson, Miss., Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. Despite a partial shutdown of the federal government, Mississippi has gotten permission to keep operating WIC through October. WIC helps pregnant, breastfeeding and post-partum women, plus infants and children younger than five and affects more than 94,000 low- to moderate-income women and children. Money to pay for WIC goes through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the state Health Department operates 96 distribution sites for the program. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

They’ve lifted restrictions on some foods like milk, eggs, bread, pasta and rice.

The changes provide flexibility to WIC families in case shelves aren’t stocked.

So we can VERIFY this post is true in context.

The impact coronavirus has on WIC shoppers will differ from family to family and store to store.

All shoppers are encouraged to be mindful of others by not hoarding key items like baby formula.

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