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      Valley families worried about cuts to WIC program

      A program that provides healthy food to about nine million poor mothers and pregnant women is facing cuts.

      The program helps pay for food, health screenings and nutritional and health education, but as the federal government looks at ways to tighten their belt, WIC is on the list to get slashed.

      Mateo Sauceda is happy to show off his food, and while he prefers strawberries, his twin brother Justin loves bananas.

      Mom Perla couldn't be happier that they are getting nutritional food through WIC to grow strong.

      "Milk especially because they are so little," said Sauceda.

      Perla is a mother of five.

      Mateo and Justin, her youngest, are two years old and Perla said she could not imagine being without the programs help.

      "Even though I get food stamps too, WIC helps a lot with the young boys," said Sauceda.

      Perla said she's benefited a lot from the programs educational training.

      She's learned what the best foods are for her kids and the boys get health screenings to make sure they are on the right track.

      "Those screenings and classes are so helpful because I want to make sure they are healthy," said Perla.

      In order for a family to be eligible for WIC, a family of six needs to make $51, 079 dollars or less a year and a family of two needs to make $25,372 dollars or less a year.

      According to the Census, over 35 percent of those living in Hidalgo County are below the poverty level and the median household income is just over 30 thousand dollar.

      My husband doesn't hold a stable job|there isn't much work for him in this economy-so if there's cuts to the program-it would really hurt us, said Perla.

      The program could face an $868 million dollar cut from the program TMs national budget.

      Those cuts could trickle down to the program's already tight state budget.

      The Appropriations committee approved this unprecedented cut last month"based on the claim that more than 40% of WIC costs go to program administration.

      Congress is expected to vote on this issue late Tuesday evening.