ORANGE COUNTY – If you’re enrolled in the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) program, Piedmont Health Services Director of Health Support Services Heather Miranda says the vouchers you’ve received are still good despite the government shutdown.

“We’ve gotten reports of some stores that are thinking that the food benefit coupons/vouchers are not good, but they are absolutely good,” Miranda says. “They’re just like a check; the markets should be accepting them.”

Miranda says Piedmont Health and state officials have been trying to get the word out to the stores, but some people are still being turned away.

She says services are still being offered, including certifying and enrolling, providing breast-feeding support and nutrition education, but Piedmont Health—through the WIC program—can’t give out any food from now until the end of the federal government shutdown.

The federal government pays the $200 million budget for the state’s WIC program. Of the 264,000 participants program in the state, there are currently about 5,600 in Orange and Chatham counties.

“These foods are integral to the nutrition and growth for these folks,” Miranda says. “So this program being shut down has an incredible impact on that. Many, many of our families work, but many of them are in great need of food.”

Miranda says Piedmont Health is encouraging people to continue to go in and apply for the program.

“We know that when this shutdown ends, we want to get food benefits to them as soon as possible,” Miranda says.

Miranda says anyone in Orange and Chatham counties with questions can call 919-942-8741.