CORONAVIRUS UTAH

Sparse Shelves Add To Challenge For Those On SNAP, WIC Benefits

Apr 1, 2020, 8:38 PM | Updated: 8:39 pm
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – More than 206,000 Utahns rely on SNAP or WIC benefits to feed their families. That number is expected to grow. Sparse grocery shelves have added even more challenges for program participants.

Amanda Hyde and her husband, Keenan, have a daughter who spent 102 days in the NICU, and while healthy now, still requires a lot of extra care.

They use both SNAP and WIC benefits to get by.

Most stores in Utah do not accept SNAP or WIC for online grocery shopping or pickup, making shopping with a high-risk baby difficult and dangerous.

Hyde said even before COVID-19, she had a hard time finding the specific items she is allowed to use her WIC checks on.

She had a request for the average shopper.

“I would just say, don’t shop like your life depends on it, because you can get as much as you want,” Hyde said. “They (SNAP and WIC participants) can only get certain items.”

WIC participants get a checkbook every month with a very specific set of items they can use their benefits to purchase. The checks often specify the item, brand and size they can buy. When those items are gone, the participant has to go to another store or ask the store to substitute another product.

We understand that WIC participants may have difficulty finding some of their food items available in stores during this…

Posted by Utah County WIC on Tuesday, March 31, 2020

There have been calls on social media to limit the number of WIC-qualified products other people buy, similar to the way many grocery stores have specified senior-only hours.

“They’re the store name brands of canned goods. They’re the cheaper end of the breads. They’re the whole wheat breads, specifically, and stuff like fruit and stuff. That’s going to be fine with WIC participants. It’s just the canned foods and the breads, the milks, the juices, and cereal, like Malt O’ Meal,” said Hyde.

Stores can also limit the number of checks someone can use per transaction. Stores have been extra busy, often with long lines of shoppers, and WIC checks can take longer to checkout.

Some WIC checks have more than one item on them and if the participant doesn’t get all the items, they forfeit the other items. If a store is sold out of one of the items on a check, the participant has to forfeit it or try to find all the other items at another store.

When it comes to SNAP benefits, there has been a growing concern about what the summertime will bring.

“I’m interested to see if they do any farmers markets this summer,” Hyde said.

SNAP participants can double their benefits when they shop at farmer’s markets. With the uncertainty of what the summer is going to look like, that could be a large blow to local farmers and low income families.

There have been some calls on social media for people to hold off on their shopping in the first few days of the month, when SNAP benefits renew. In Utah, those SNAP benefit refills are staggered throughout the month, so there isn’t a run in the first couple days.

If you think you could benefit from some extra support, especially right now, call 211 to be connected with someone who can help you figure out your eligibility and walk you through the application process.

Changes have been announced to help WIC recipients over the short term. Items such as bread, milk, eggs and yogurt can now be substituted if the store is out of the specific WIC approved item, brand or size.

Most WIC clinics will now do appointments over the phone, as well. For all the latest, go to wic.utah.gov and click the Coronavirus Update tab at the top of the page.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Coronavirus Utah

The Nurse Crisis and Patent Risk....
Debbie Worthen

Utah registered nurses are leaving the field, creating the ‘perfect storm’

"Without nurses, we can't have hospitals." Utah nurses are overworked and underpaid. Some say it's put people at risk.
6 days ago
Four-year-old Viola Fairfax-Panza Getting her COVID-19 vaccination, held by her mother Keke Fairfax...
Jed Boal

Salt Lake Co. distributes COVID vaccines for children 6-months and older

Salt Lake County begins COVID-19 vaccinations for children 6 months and older.
6 days ago
FILE PHOTO (Photo by Stephen Zenner/Getty Images)...
Jed Boal

Utah’s youngest kids should be able to get COVID-19 vaccine next week

Kids as young as 6 months old should be able to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the middle of next week. This is an eagerly awaited opportunity for many parents and an issue of concern for others.
10 days ago
Utah COVID testing site. Getty images...
Cary J. Schwanitz, KSL TV

New mobile COVID-19 testing sites open in Utah

With the summer travel season underway and a steady stream of people still testing positive for COVID-19, Nomi Health opened several mobile testing sites across Utah.
19 days ago
The CDC is released updated mask guidance as researchers learn more about COVID-19. (KSL TV)...
Michael Houck, KSL TV

Charter school asks students not to mask to help ‘normalize’ not wearing masks at school

The American Preparatory Academy asks students not to wear a mask during their last three days of school to help with their 'academic and emotional growth.'
30 days ago
AURORA, CO - DECEMBER 15: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center investigat...
Jed Boal, KSL TV

Pfizer booster shot is now approved for children 5-11, here’s what a doctor advises

The CDC now recommends Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots for children ages five to 11. But, a leading pediatric epidemiologist suggests some parents may want to wait based on their summer plans.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Sparse Shelves Add To Challenge For Those On SNAP, WIC Benefits