GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Imagine running out of formula for your baby. That's the reality for thousands of mothers right here in North Carolina.
The government shutdown in Washington put a stop to the budget for the WIC program. It's leaving 50,000 families without a way to pay for food, especially formula, for their young children. There is some relief on the way, but you are being asked to help your neighbors.
Volunteers at Greensboro Urban Ministry are working to try and help desperate families. Right now, baby formula may be the most important item needed.
"We average 100 or so families a day," said Urban Ministry rep Christine Byrd. "Certainly with the WIC crisis, we are anticipating that number to continue to climb."
So will the need for formula. It's a challenge the food bank isn't used to.
"Folks are just so devastated by this, they don't know what to do," said Byrd. "The WIC office says turn to your local food bank. Well normally we're not set up to do this."
Wednesday, we introduced you to Deann Harris who's almost out of formula. She doesn't know where to go next. "When my child starts crying in the middle of the night because he doesn't have any milk what I'm I supposed do?"
But Harris is not alone. Arielle Vega is also trying to feed her four-year-old daughter. "I'm struggling right now. It's getting harder every day so if they're cutting WIC down, how are children going to eat?"
It's stories like these that are motivating people at Urban Ministry. "So that we can ensure that the very small babies who have no voice in this, are not left hungry because of the decisions of our government," said Byrd.
The WIC program provides for about 9 million people nationwide every month. To be eligible, a family of four must make less than $42,000 a year, roughly.
Pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants and children up to age 5 are eligible.
If you have a WIC card, bring it in and you can get baby formula on an as-needed basis. But to meet those demands, the food bank needs others to donate.
If you'd like to donate formula, bring it by Urban Ministry Monday-Friday 8am-5pm. You can also donate at any Greensboro Harris Teeter until next Sunday.
Contact your US Representative from NC and let them hear from you about the shutdown.
Update: Late Thursday, the state announced that funding was found for the WIC program through the end of October.