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Update 10:23 a.m
After reading this story, Bryan Van Dorn from the State Department of Education offered to help any interested sites through the application process. His number is 517-373-0107 and his email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday June 10, 2014, 1:48 p.m.
For every eight kids who could get a free or reduced-price lunch during the school year in Michigan, only one of those kids gets fed over the summer by a similar program.
That means more than 500,000 kids around the state who needed food during the school year didn’t get access to the same program over the summer.
The school lunch program does make food available over the summer for kids, and they want more families taking part. This year more than 1,300 places across the state will run a “meet up and eat up” program. All together, the program serves around 68,000 kids a day.
Not every school district or town has one of these programs, but most could if they wanted to. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) funds the summer food program. They want to see more communities applying for the program.
Although 1,300 sites seems like a lot of places to offer summer food, some kids can't take advantage of the program because of problems with transportation or a safe route to the sites. To get around this, the USDA is experimenting with just giving money to low-income parents to buy food over the summer. That WIC program is still in a pilot phase; it will serve a few thousand people in Detroit this year.
For now, families interested in summer food programs need to find a way to one of the "meet up and eat up" sites.
Food is waiting, if you can get there
Michelle Dunn runs a "meet up and eat up" program in Addison. “Some people still don’t believe it's free,” she says. “They don't believe you can just go in.” Dunn wishes more people would just walk in. She thinks many don’t know there’s food waiting for them.
Families interested in summer food need to know each food site is different. Not all sites offer food all summer long. Each site keeps different hours, and some may offer other activities along with summer food. It makes sense to get details about a local site, but in general: