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March 31, 2020

Organizers urge customers to avoid bulk buying WIC products

By Jazmin Juarez, special to the Pajaronian

WATSONVILLE—During the coronavirus outbreak, several people have gone shopping for food in large quantities without realizing the impact it can have on their neighbors.

Around 5,000 people in Watsonville rely on the Women, Infants and Children program (WIC), whose benefits are restricted to certain approved food items.

Participants receive a once a month re-fill, and can only use these benefits during a particular time period, according to WIC program director for Santa Cruz County Cathy Cavanaugh.

Some participants still rely on WIC checks, which only allows them a one-time transaction. If they don’t find what they need, they can no longer purchase it.

It is important that individuals are being mindful when they are out shopping for groceries, only taking what is needed, county officials have said. For nonparticipants, trying to avoid WIC products is essential since those recipients don’t have any other option when those food products run out. 

WIC recipients have seen a drop in baby formula in the last couple of weeks, according to Cavanaugh. It is still recommended for recipients to wait until there is a formula back in stock.

“Stores will continue to get regular shipments of infant formula, so please do not give your infant homemade formula,” said Cavanaugh. “Homemade formula can be very dangerous for infants.”

At La Princesa Market, WIC products continue to be fully stocked. They are specifically running low on water, paper, canned food, pasta, rice, etc. 

“We get shipments every Tuesdays and Fridays, but we have been getting limited orders, especially on the products that we are running low on,” said store manager Ivan Lopez.

In case stores run out of food, WIC also provides locations designated for participants. WIC is also currently accepting new applications. To find these stores or more information on how to apply, visit the WIC app or the website


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