Filling the Summer Meal Gap for Youth in Need

Two boys getting lunch at Gather 2 Grow

Two boys getting lunch at Gather 2 Grow

What happens when the school year ends?

During the school year, many kids rely on receiving breakfast and lunch at school, as well as weekend or evening meal programs. When school ends, most of these resources suddenly disappear, which creates an even larger financial burden for families in need. That’s where Gather 2 Grow steps in.

Gather 2 Grow helps fill the summer meal gap for kids. This program aims to nourish kids’ bodies and minds during the summer in partnership with local libraries. Summer lunches are provided for all youth (18 and under) and adults with disabilities up to age 26 at no cost, and people were also able to take home a kid-friendly activity like coloring books.

This year there are 10 meal choices, including options such as chicken salad, turkey & cheese, pizza, tortilla sandwiches and more. Gluten-free and vegetarian meals like hummus and chips & dip are available as well.

Parents often express appreciation that this program gives them an opportunity to feed both their kids’ bodies and minds. Combining eating lunch with activities the libraries provide makes for a fun outing, allowing families to feel dignity in their experience picking up meals for their kids.

In 2023, we provided over 27,500 meals through our partnerships with 20 libraries in Allegan, Ionia, Kent, Muskegon and Newaygo counties. And this year, we are expanding the program into the northwest part of the Lower Peninsula. Learn more about how we’re working together with our community to end child hunger.