What Happens When the School Year Ends?

sisters hold food in front of library

When summer comes around, kids in need are suddenly without free or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches—creating a larger financial burden for families. What’s more, most weekend and evening meal programs like Children First Lakeshore are only able to provide food for kids during the school year. As a result, many kids are at risk of going without.

That’s where summer meal sites come in. The Michigan Department of Education oversees Meet Up & Eat Up sites across the state, where any young person through age 18 (and people with disabilities through age 26) can receive a free lunch. The food bank’s own summer meals program, Gather 2 Grow, runs in partnership with local organizations, like libraries. We’re planning to expand this program in the coming years!

Last year, sisters Bria and Lyla received lunches from a library meal site every week.

“It’s kind of our plan to check out books and grab lunches. We appreciate it,” said Sabrina, the girls’ mom. “It’s nice that they’re all packaged up and they’ve got a little bit of everything. [One of my daughters] has high fructose issues, so it’s great to see she can have the stuff that’s in there.”

Give a gift to Feeding America West Michigan and support programs like Gather 2 Grow!