Lowndes County WIC Food Distribution Center to close in August

LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – For many mothers, it’s a lifeline.

The Women’s, Infants and Children Food Distribution Center provides families with supplemental foods – everything from eggs and dairy, produce, baby foods, and formula.

The Lowndes County WIC Center is closing – for good.

WIC is a subset of the Mississippi State Department of Health and has helped provide families with food and other goods for nearly 5 decades.

With the Lowndes County branch closing, participants will be forced to drive to neighboring counties to continue with the program.

For many families, that’s just not possible.

When LaCharley Sherrod made her monthly trip to WIC this morning, she was surprised by what greeted her at the door.

In bold letters, the distribution center announcing it will permanently close on August 28th.

“This is my first time hearing that they will be closing, so that’s very unfortunate,” said Sherrod.

She definitely didn’t expect this trip to be her last.

“People who pick up on the 29th, like me, we won’t even get benefits for August,” said Sherrod.

A former South Carolina resident, Sherrod is used to picking up supplements at the local grocery store, where shoppers can use a WIC voucher.

“Some states have already transitioned into programs where you can actually pick up WIC from the grocery stores, but Mississippi hasn’t transitioned yet. So, the families that will lose this benefit– it’s going to be harsh on them,” said Sherrod.

Jamie Matthews uses WIC to support her two children.

Her youngest, Christopher, is just 5 weeks old.

“I was shocked because this is the only distribution center that we have in about a 30-mile radius,” said Matthews.

She said it’s unrealistic for the health department to ask people to drive to Monroe or Clay County.

“A lot of people come on their lunch breaks. I do know a lot of people don’t have transportation, so it’s already hard for them to come out here with it being so far out,” said Matthews.

Matthews said many in the community just want an explanation.

“People are angry. A lot of people are shocked. A lot of people are disappointed because this is their only means,” said Matthews.

WIC participants must go through multiple steps before they are accepted into the program.

We have reached out to the State Department of Health for comment. We have yet to hear back from them.

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