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Business Helps Mothers After WIC Cuts
A mountain business is stepping up to fill a dangerous gap left after WIC benefits, which go to mothers to help feed their children, were cut off by the federal government Tuesday, to last until the shutdown ends.
"A lot of families are affected by it - I didn't think it was going to come this close to home," says Marion mother Heather Stout. "I figured it was just there - not here."
Stout accepts WIC checks and has young girls, but she says she's thankful they're both old enough to drink milk, which is about four dollars per gallon. Formula, Stout says, would be a challenge at more than $20 a can.
"I have two children and I just can't imagine not being able to feed them when they were babies," says Tonya Gibbs who has launched a campaign to collect formula cans at her Community Thrift Store on East Court Street.
Gibbs was a single mother for a long time and she said she felt she had to do something when she found out Wednesday that benefit checks were going to be suspended. She's now asked the local WIC office to refer families that have been cut off from assistance to her.
Community Thrift Store is offering a 10 percent discount to shoppers that bring in a can of formula and the business is also organizing a schedule of trades - you bring formula and you get something for free.
Friday, there will be free haircuts for everyone with a donation. Gibbs says she's also organizing Mary Kay makeovers, face-painting and manicures at her store to help bring donations in.
Gibbs says she knows that offering this discount could mean a drop in profits for her business, which isn't even a month old. But she also says that she remembers being a single mother in McDowell County.
"Now I'm going to take care of the community, because this community took care of me," said Gibbs.
For more information on the Community Thrift Store, click here.
By Ashlea Surles