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Food Program Receives Funding Increase

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A food aid program will be available to nearly 1,700 more women and children in Orange County beginning this month because of increased federal funding.

In December, the government granted more money to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Supplemental Food Program. The program is designed to reduce infant mortality by providing food and nutrition education to low-income women who are pregnant or who have young children.

“There’s a tremendous need in the county,” said Casey McFall, program coordinator in Orange County. “There’s a lot of hungry women and children.”

With the increase in funding, nearly 7,800 people will be served in the county, the only place in the state other than San Francisco where the program operates. A larger government program known as Women, Infants and Children provides food to a similar population, but officials say WIC has been so underfunded it cannot begin to meet the needs of those eligible.

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“The number of women and children served by WIC doesn’t even put a dent in what the need is, so our program can absorb some of that,” McFall said. “We’re seeing a lot of women and children we might not have otherwise seen because families are out of work and people are underemployed.”

McFall’s program distributes boxes of food locally through the Community Development Council in Costa Mesa. The contents of the food boxes vary according to the needs of the recipients, but a typical box may include cornmeal, egg mix, beans, rice, infant formula, cereal, fruit juice and canned meats and vegetables.

People who wish to apply for the program should call (714) 540-9293 for an appointment, McFall said. Those who qualify would be able to go home with food the day they come in, she said.


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