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It was eleven o’clock at night and the lady in front of me in the supermarket line was buying jars of baby food and bottles of Pedialyte. The cashier pulled some of the jars aside and told the lady they weren’t covered under the WIC program. “But you didn’t have the ones I can buy, the shelf is empty. I can’t buy the other ones because he won’t eat them,” the customer said.“I’m sorry, maybe if you call WIC you can get permission to buy these, but I can’t do anything about it,” the cashier responded.“I’ve been trying to call them for two days and left messages. I can’t get a return call,” the woman said, now visibly shaken, her voice quivering. “My baby is sick and he’s not going to keep down anything but strained peas and maybe these,” she said pointing to some other jars. “He’ll vomit up anything else.”Personally I had never realized there were strict guidelines with regard to what kind of baby food you could buy with WIC. Allowed brands vary from state to state. That night was a learning experience. I’ve never told anyone this before because I don’t believe in trumpeting good deeds; but I bought that woman’s groceries for her that night. We talked briefly about her little boy; she was embarrassed to accept help but conversely desperate to help her child. I went away silently praying the baby would keep his food down.There isn’t much difference when feeding the elderly. When we are young and healthy, most of us can eat just about anything, if we need to. But both the young and elderly are much less able to gulp down anything that is offered them, often based on real physiological reactions, mouth or dental problems, or dietary restrictions.When I was on Family Medical Leave Act to care for my elderly father, I got my first taste of the local food pantry. The guidelines were strict, and I was required to leave with about ten boxes of cereal to fulfill the pantry’s crazy grain requirements. You could not refuse any food, or you would be banned from all food pantries.