Free Summer Lunches In Demand

By: Tiffany Teasley Email
By: Tiffany Teasley Email

For some kids it could be their only good meal of the day.

"We feed anybody who comes in, breakfast is between 8:00 and 9:00 in the morning, and lunch is between 11:00 a.m. and 12 p.m.," said Linda Vainner, Food Service Director of Waverly Community Schools.

As the economy dips deeper into a recession, Summer Food Service Programs are feeding the need with free meals.

"During the school year we're over 50 percent severely needy at this school, and so that's why this school qualifies," Vainner said.

Smaller districts like Waverly Community Schools are serving about 50 kids for breakfast and 70 for lunch each day.

"I'm seeing it from some of the parents, it helps them bridge a little gap and save a little bit of money during the summer and they do know their students are getting a good meal," Vainner said.

"Because they may not have that product at home, they could provide their child with a nutritious meal," said Gee Palk, of Food & Nutrition Services for the Lansing School District.

They've served nearly 175 meals on Wednesday alone at the Boys and Girls Club, it's one of the Lansing School District sites and they say the number keeps growing by the day.

"It's continually increasing, we're running about 49 sites with about 60 different programs at those 49 sites, last year we probably ran between 23 and 25 so we've almost doubled," Palk said.

And because of a new grant from the Greater Lansing Food Bank, parents can get served along with their child at the Lansing School District sites.

"Parents who are home with their children during the day can attend a breakfast or a lunch session with their child so, yes we have seen an increase in that," Palk said.

The program run by Department of Education and funded by the USDA serves anyone under 18 -- organizers say it's essential so kids don't go hungry because of hardship.

"If the demand is there that we as a school district can step in and hopefully help fill that need," Palk said.

To find which districts participate in the Summer Food Service Program visit the link below.

http://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,1607,7-140-43092_34491---,00.html


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