Voices of Hunger: "I Will Be Forever Grateful"
In 1983, a North Carolina grocery store publicly notified shoppers that it accepted the U.S. Department of Agriculture WIC vouchers. (Photo courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration/USDA)
Voices of WIC is a regular feature in which people who have received assistance from the federal program give a first-person account of the experience. If you have received or are receiving WIC and would like to share your story, please send an e-mail to Sarah Godfrey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jennifer L. Brown
From December 1997 until May 2010, I worked in the human services field. I truly believe that I was a very good social worker and gave my clients my all. In July of 2010, I was blessed with my son. This should have been the happiest time in my life but, in so many ways, it was the worst time. I was unemployed, with no health insurance, and had nothing ready for my son’s arrival.
After the birth of my son, I became a client of the same programs I once ran. My experience with WIC stands out in particular. I learned so much and truly enjoyed our monthly classes. The peer counseling and the sharing of ideas to calm a crying baby are just a couple of the life jewels I learned as a client of the WIC program in Charleston, South Carolina.
For the first six months of my son’s life I was unemployed, and I honesty do not know how I would have provided nutrition for him without WIC. In our state, the maximum amount of unemployment you can receive is $320, before taxes. This was the only source of income I had to provide for my son and run our household. When I got my current job, in February 2011, I pledged to become a social worker in the mold of the ladies in the WIC office where I received service.
I have learned to treat everyone with value, instead of judging or putting down people who are doing their best in an undesirable situation. I will be forever grateful for what WIC allowed me to do for my son and I will support the program in any way I can.
Jennifer L. Brown is an employment assistance program coordinator with a community human services agency in Charleston, S.C.
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