ROANOKE, Va. -

More than 4,000 parents in Roanoke rely on the federally funded program Women, Infants and Children, or WIC.

Many have been wondering whether or not their benefits will stop with the shutdown.

According to Mike Welch, it’s “business as usual” with the Virginia WIC program.

Welch is the division director of WIC & Community Nutrition Services with the Virginia Department of Health.

There are currently 155,000 people on the WIC program in Virginia. WIC helps mothers and young children with nutritional or medical factors stay healthy.

Mothers and children under the age of five and living near or below the poverty line rely on the program's supplemental vouchers. Those who qualify have to have a medical or nutritional risk factor.

The health department issues them for healthy food, breastfeeding support, infant formula and other necessities.

According to reports, the USDA estimates that most states will be able to continue WIC operations as usual for a week or so before running out of money, but Virginia officials tell WDBJ 7 they confident they will survive longer than a week.

Virginia officials are keeping a close eye on the situation, but say there should be no disruption in benefits at this point.  

Teresa Widener lives in Bedford and has legal custody of her granddaughter, TayLynn.

TaLynn has congenital heart disease and chronic lung disease and has to be tube fed with a special formula.

Widener says without WIC, she can't pay for the things she needs.

"I'm worried about it,” she said. “I know people have said if you're already on it you don't have to worry about it but there's always given that chance it could happen to you."

The government stopped funding WIC on Tuesday. So far, the situation is most dire in Arkansas and Utah. Utah has already stopped accepting new participants.

WIC officials say each state is dealing with the shutdown differently and that people should not assume the worst just because another state is stopping its benefits.

Below is the breakdown of how many people are currently enrolled in WIC in our area:

  • New River Valley: 2,474
  • Roanoke: 4,144
  • Blacksburg: 2,568
  • Alleghany: 2,083