Gather 2 Grow: Providing Summer Meals

Two kids holding up packs of food from Gather 2 Grow

Two kids holding up packs of food from Gather 2 Grow

During the school year, many kids rely on free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch as well as weekend or evening meal programs. When school ends, most of these resources suddenly disappear. At Feeding America West Michigan, we are working to end hunger for over 50,000 children in our service area who are food insecure. In order to do so, we must fill the gap in service for children in need of food once school is out for the summer.

Gather 2 Grow is our summer lunch program serving any youth (18 and under) and disabled adults up to age 26 in partnership with local libraries. Participants receive nutritious meals at no cost, with vegetarian and nut-free options available.

One mom, Stacy, visited a partnering library and picked up some food while she was there.

“It’s the best of both worlds because you get exposure to the library and books, and also get food,” Stacy said. “The books feed their brains and the food feeds their minds!”

Donna is another mom who visits a participating library. Her three kids eagerly took home lunches after attending a story hour one morning.

“We love the library, so it’s a good space to pick the meals up,” Donna said. “With food so expensive, it’s nice. It’s quick and easy to stop by.”

Donna and Stacy are among many parents who need a little extra help putting food on their kids’ plates during the summer. For families like theirs, the sudden loss of school meals means a bigger grocery expense—on top of other costs summer brings, like child care.

By providing no-cost meal options for these families, Gather 2 Grow continues to be a bridge between kids, families and the food they need to thrive.