12 OYS: Aiken Walmart under fire for rejecting temporary WIC voucher

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, April 18, 2014

AIKEN, SC (WRDW) - A young mom said she spent hours on the road Thursday night trying to find a store that would accept her WIC vouchers.

She was trying to buy formula for her 4-month-old baby. The problem stems from temporary vouchers that were issued this week, but DHEC said it is no excuse for participating stores to turn away any WIC member.

"It was kind of heartbreaking because for my son it was time for a feeding and I had just ran out of formula," Nikki Floyd said.

It was an experience Floyd and her family said they never want to relive.

"It's been hectic just trying to get formula for our son. We went to three or four different places and they would not accept it," Floyd said.

She and her family said they spent nearly four hours driving around Aiken and the surrounding area trying to find a store that would accept her temporary WIC voucher so she could buy baby formula for her 4 month-old son Kaiden.

The substitute vouchers were being used due to temporary problems with the online processing system.

"I don't blame the WIC office at all," Floyd said.

But she is blaming several stores including Walmart which she said turned her away.

"They never took the time to research it to ask anybody above them. We actually had to ask for upper management at Walmart," Floyd said.

She said even then she was told her temporary WIC voucher could not be used.

"She (the manager) was very rude. She wouldn't even listen to us," Floyd said. "As soon as she walked up she was shaking her head."

On Your Side contacted Walmart to find out why its staff were not familiar with the temporary voucher. A spokesperson said "We apologize to the customer for the inconvenience. This was a miscommunication, and we are happy to accept these temporary vouchers."

News 12 also contacted DHEC which oversees the WIC program.

A spokesperson there told us that, "DHEC's WIC program sent an email out to stores alerting them to the temporary vouchers situation. It is standard backup to the computer system to ensure uninterrupted service to our WIC clients. All of our facilities relayed to us by the reporter have been contacted and reminded that they are obligated to accept the paper vouchers."

"I just hope that nobody else had to go through this," said Floyd.

She said Kroger was the only store that was familiar with the temporary vouchers and she was able to get the formula there.


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