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Having a baby isn't cheap. The United States Department of Agriculture just released a report saying middle-income families can expect to spend $222,260 to raise a child to 17. But there is help available through the government and private organizations as soon as you become pregnant. One progam is Women, Infants, and Children.
"We provide nutrition education, nutritious foods, we provide breast feeding help, community agency referrals," says Claire Gately, Registered Dietician W.I.C.
W.I.C. will also provide vouchers for about $40 worth of free groceries a month for expectant mothers. Signing up is easy.
"They will need to bring proof of address, proof of income,if somebody has a medical card that can be used as proof of income, they'll need to bring their proof of pregnancy from their physician," says Gately.
W.I.C participants must fall at or below 185 percent of the U.S. Poverty Income Guidelines. If you don't qualify for government programs, you can also look for private organizations like the Heartbeat Family Center that rely on community donations.
"We don't have an income requirement or anything like that. If they can get to us, because we are completely privately supported, we are able to help anybody. We can help somebody in Perry County, we can help somebody in Cambridge, it doesn't matter if they can come to us we can help them," says Tess Davis, Heartbeat Family Center Interim Director.
Heartbeat offers expectant mother some free items.
"Maternity clothes for mom and clothes for the baby from 0 to 4T and those are gently used, the majority of them," says Davis.
And you can also earn new large items such as cribs, bassinettes, or car seats.
"She can read books, watch videos, do that kind of stuff and earn new things for the baby that people donate and we put that in our 'Mommy and Me' store and they save up the points until they want to shop," she says.
The only thing they ask is that you return items for others to use when your child's outgrown them.