Summer Food Service At Its Finest: Meet Up and Eat Up!
More than 16 million kids in America live in households that struggle to put food on the table. That’s 1 out of every 5 kids.1
Though you may not realize it or you may think it doesn’t exist in your community, hunger is all around us. Every. Single. Day.
When school is not in session, the summer can be a difficult time for families to ensure there is enough food to feed the mouths at the table. And that’s where the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) comes in. The SFSP is a Child Nutrition Program (CNP) that feeds children throughout the summer break at sponsored locations in communities across the country.
It wasn’t until my career at UDIM started that I realized the potential impact that a SFSP can have on the overall health of youngsters across the USA. In Michigan, a collaboration between the MI Department of Education, Michigan No Kid Hungry, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, and United Dairy Industry of Michigan, rebranded the SFSP with the welcoming message of, “Meet Up and Eat Up.” Meet Up and Eat Up provides FREE meals to participants, and is available for children who are 18 years of age or younger and people with disabilities who participate in a public or non-profit private school program established for the mentally or physically disabled, regardless of age.2,3
Summer meal sites are hosted at safe places for kids and teens to go, such as schools, churches, and community centers, local parks, and some locations even offer educational opportunities for students! The meals served must follow the prescribed meal pattern guidelines, which ensure the kids are getting proper nourishment.
One of the greatest assets of the program is that parents don’t have to complete a lengthy application or provide any sort of income verification, all they need to do is to bring their children to a Meet Up and Eat Up site and the rest is history!
Let’s raise the bar and put an end to undernourished children. Encourage families in need to seek out a summer meal site for their children.
It’s not too late! Many locations across Michigan will be serving students throughout the month of August.
To learn more about Meet Up and Eat Up in Michigan, check out the Michigan Department of Education’s website at: www.michigan.gov/sfsp
Or to find a summer meals site near you:
Visit an interactive map online at www.MCGI.State.MI.US/SchoolNutrition
Text FoodMI to 877-877