As the end of the school year approaches, many teachers and students are filled with anticipation of the long, care free summer days to come.
No more early mornings. No more classes. No more homework. No more tests. However, for many students, the end of summer also signals the end to guaranteed meals on a regular basis. When school is out for summer vacation, millions of children across the nation lose access to the free and reduced-price meals they depend on during the school year.
Food that’s in, when school is out
The Summer Food Service Program, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and administered by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), aims to fill that gap, providing children with free, healthy meals during the summer months when school is not in session and when many children often face missing meals and lack of proper nutrition. More than 21 million children receive free and reduced-price meals during the school year, but only 17% of these children participate in the Summer Food Service Program.
During the summer, the Food Bank partners with more than 60 feeding sites throughout Genesee and Saginaw counties to help keep young people nourished and healthy. As a sponsor of the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), the Food Bank distributes more than 80,000 meals through daily deliveries to each location during the summer. Breakfast and lunch are provided daily by the Food Bank, as well as kid friendly treats.
We don’t stop there—the Food Bank also strives to provide healthy snacks in our “Summer Take-Home Nutrition” bags. They are offered to every site and are for children to take home and enjoy over the weekend. The bags contain precut veggies, fresh fruit, granola bars, milk and 100% juice. Since its inception in 2011, the Food Bank has distributed over 75,000 nutrition bags.