The automatic budget cuts that affect nearly every sector of the federal government have enormous economic, educational and social impacts. Health care, education, the environment, military jobs, crime prevention, scientific research, food safety and veterans services are all under the budgetary guillotine.

Most concerning, though, are the impacts on the nation’s most vulnerable citizens. For example, 600,000 women and children in the U.S. could be dropped from WIC. Known as Women Infants and Children, WIC provides supplemental foods, health care referrals and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding women who recently had children. It provides the same services to infants and children up to age 5 who are found to be at nutritional risk, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the program.

Federally assisted programs such as Meals on Wheels would serve 4 million fewer meals to senior citizens. The meals, according to the federal government, can account for half of the daily food for most seniors in the program.