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

FILE PHOTO (Photo by Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)...
Josh Ellis

Utah doctor, others charged with running COVID vaccine scheme, issuing fake records and giving fake shots

A Utah plastic surgeon, his medical corporation and three others have been charged after prosecutors say they issued fake COVID-19 vaccination record cards and injected minors with saline shots.
13 days ago
FILE: People line up in their cars as members of the Utah National Guard give COVID-19 swab tests a...
Eliza Pace

Gov. Cox, along with 24 other governors, call on President Biden to end Federal Public Health Emergency

Gov. Spencer Cox signed a letter with 24 other governors calling on President Joe Biden to end the federal public health emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic.
1 month ago
flu shot tripledemic...
Matt Rascon

KSL+: The rise of respiratory viruses and COVID’s impact

It’s not even winter yet, and the CDC is warning that the country is experiencing a resurgence of respiratory viruses, which are taking a toll on hospitals and children.
2 months ago
FILE: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 (left) and Moderna COVID-19 (right) vaccines are seen at a vaccinati...
Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer

US clears updated COVID boosters for kids as young as 5

The U.S. on Wednesday authorized updated COVID-19 boosters for children as young as 5, seeking to expand protection ahead of an expected winter wave.
4 months ago
...
Alex Cabrero and Mike Anderson, KSL TV

Sandy woman shares frustration of ongoing battle with COVID-19

As life starts to return to normal from the pandemic, for millions of Americans, it still causes a daily struggle. That's the case for one Sandy woman, who shared her story Tuesday.
4 months ago
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 09: A pharmacist prepares to administer  COVID-19 vaccine booster sho...
Jed Boal

University Health recommends getting omicron booster and flu shot now

The CDC approved the COVID-19 bivalent boosters that target the most recent omicron variants on September 1. Since then, tens of thousands of Utahns have rolled up their sleeves.
4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Sparse Shelves Add To Challenge For Those On SNAP, WIC Benefits