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      Women and children affected by the federal government shutdown

      COLUMBIA, SC (WACH)- Information released by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), found that one in four households with children in South Carolina report inability to afford enough food, ranking SC as 15th in the nation for households facing food insecurity.

      One program that can assists with households facing food hardships is the Women, Infant, and Children program (WIC), which DHEC operates in the state.

      However, WIC is considered a non-essential program and therefore will not be funded while the Federal Government is shutdown.

      "We do prepare and we continue to prepare everyday for families with infants and small children," said Denise Holland, CEO of Harvest Hope Food Bank.

      This preparation could really be put to use come October 15th, unless the USDA releases funds for the WIC program.

      Harvest Hope sees WIC clients daily, but without the appropriate funds for WIC, services could be interrupted and reimbursements could be discontinued. This could mean a higher demand from Harvest Hope's services.

      "We do see WIC recipients here when they do not have enough formula for the rest of the month," said Holland. "We give out formula, we give out baby food."

      WACH Fox reached out to DHEC to learn the status of USDA seeking more federal dollars to fund WIC.

      Jim Beasley, the spokesman for DHEC would only say, "The updated information has been slow coming from the USDA."

      DHEC says on average, 8 million in federal dollars is spent on WIC recipients in South Carolina.

      However, WIC won't be the only program affected by the federal government shut down.

      Holland says while Harvest Hope receives much of its food from the support of partnerships and surrounding communities, 20% of Harvest Hope's food is provided by the USDA.

      "We do know that USDA food is lessoning," said Holland.

      Harvest Hope is not receiving any additional food other than what has already been allotted for them by USDA. Federal shutdown or not, Holland adds that Harvest Hope will still see a decrease in food supplied by the USDA due to budget cuts.

      If you would like to donate to Harvest Hope during and after the shutdown, you can log onto to learn how.