(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Congressman Rick Larsen (D-WA) applauded news from the Department of Navy, which reversed its decision to close the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) office at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI). The WIC office has been offered the opportunity to operate under a five-year lease directed by the Secretary of the Navy, without paying exorbitant building lease fees. Close to 700 people connected to NASWI use the services at the WIC office, which offers supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for pregnant women, infants, and children up to age five.
“The announcement that this vital assistance won’t be shut down is great news for hundreds of servicemembers and military families who rely on this program to give their children a healthy start,” Senator Murray said. “I was proud to fight for this decision to be reversed for the military community that sacrifices so much for their country. Making sure our military families have the support they need to put food on the table is the least we should be doing, and this WIC office is an important part of making that happen for so many people in the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island community.”
"I am glad that the Navy has come to this common sense decision. Community Action provides critical services in Skagit and Island Counties, including WIC, and I am pleased that military families will continue to have access to these nutrition programs on the base," Congressman Larsen said. "As a member of the Armed Services Committee, I will continue to fight for military families. Those who sacrifice for our country should not have to worry about whether they can afford their next meal."
"On behalf of the Navy WIC families we serve, Community Action owes a debt of gratitude to Senator Murray and Congressman Larsen for their steadfast support of young military families, and the way they have prioritized providing young children the best start possible," Bill Henkel, Executive Director said. "We also appreciate the leadership and our partners at NAS Whidbey Island for continuing to welcome us there. After serving Navy families on base for over 27 years we look forward to continuing to provide accessible support and services to our military’s families."
This spring Senator Murray and Congressman Larsen both wrote letters to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter asking for a reversal in the decision. In October, Murray and Larsen sent a second letter to Secretary Carter, urging him again to avoid closing the WIC office.