WUOMFM

Find free meal sites near you and fight child hunger this summer

Jun 14, 2016

Hi, State of Opportunity fans. This is going to be a pretty quick blog post, since I just want to revisit something I talked about a while back.

It's that time of year again. Children across the country are gearing up for summer break.

For many families, summertime means fun and friends. But millions of low-income children nationwide rely on free and reduced-priced meals during the school year, so it also means already tight family food budgets have to be stretched even further -- leaving many kids hungry.

To help fight hunger, sites across the state participate in the federal Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). These sites serve nutritious meals to kids up to age 18 living in low-income areas where 50% or more of the students qualify for free or reduced-priced meals. And many sites offer educational and recreational activities for kids of all ages.

According to the Michigan Department of Education, on average about 500,000 kids in the state receive these meals in school. But when summer rolls around, only a fraction of those children have access to free food.

About 104,000 – a modest 21% – receive meals or snacks at approved summer meal sites in their communities through the SFSP.

"Many families across Michigan are struggling and we can't have children going hungry in the summer when programs like this are available," State Superintendent Brian Whiston said in a press release.

Do you or someone you know need help providing meals to kids this summer? Find a site near you with the Summer Food Service Program locator map here or call 517-373-3347.