New York City supermarket protest: ‘Bring back WIC!’

Neighborhood activists rallied outside one of three Gristedes supermarkets located in the Chelsea area of Manhattan on Oct. 28. They were there to demand that the grocery chain reverse its decision to stop accepting Women, Infants, and Children vouchers.

WIC is a program that subsidizes certain food and baby formula purchases. Although it is flawed (mainly because of the influence of agribusiness for profit), WIC does help somewhat with prenatal and early childhood nutrition for families living up to twice the poverty level — regardless of immigration status.

Residents of three nearby low and moderate income housing complexes, including mothers who had used WIC to get a break from high grocery prices while pregnant, nursing or otherwise feeding a child under 6, spoke to shoppers and passersby over a microphone provided by the Solidarity Center.

The group chanted “Bring back WIC!” and pointed out how much Gristedes owner John Catsimatidis has enriched his own family off the profits made in this neighborhood.

Chelsea Rising organizer Lizette Colon denounced the rejection of WIC at these stores as another racist act that makes the cost of living in a gentrified area prohibitive, even for those whose own rent is still affordable. For information about this campaign, contact [email protected].

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