Resources for keeping children fed during summer

Low-income youth may not have access to nutritious meals over summer. Here are a couple resources parents can use to keep youth fed.

Hunger affects many parts of our body and the way children develop and grow. Over summer, low-income youth may not have access to nutritious meals. The following are two resources parents can use to keep their youth fed this summer.

The Michigan Department of Education developed the Summer Food Service Program, also known as Meet up and Eat Up, to ensure children in lower-income areas could continue receiving nutritious meals during long school vacations. The Michigan Department of Education partnered with schools and community organizations across the state to provide sites for families to come and enjoy nutritious meals.

Parents can look at the Meet Up and Eat Up map to find a site nearest them. School-aged youth are eligible to receive these nutrition meals. These sites also provide an opportunity for kids to interact with peers and adults throughout the summer.

The Meet Up and Eat Up program is normally connected to a school that has summer school or other educational-enriched programs. Some sites may have educational programs that allow youth to learn new things and get active.

Another resource parents can call to see about getting food resources is 2-1-1. 2-1-1 is a free and confidential service that helps people across Michigan find local resources they need. Parents can call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Food, housing, health, crisis and other services can be accessed by calling this simple number.

Many local communities provide food distributions that provided a box full of food to families. Depending on your area or county you live in will depend on the frequencies and locations of those food distributions. 2-1-1 can provide the date and location for the next food distribution in your area.

Michigan State University Extension also provides educational programing and support to families looking for nutrition, food safety and youth development. Contact your local MSU Extension office to find out how to learn more about feeding your children on a budget and helping them grow and develop.

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