Michigan Expanding Summer Meal Offerings
Michigan Department of Education Press Release LANSING – Michigan is expanding the network of programs, providers, and food resources available to kids in the summer when school meals are not an option, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) announced today.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has implemented a permanent provision of the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) to enhance Michigan’s ability to reach more children during the summer months. The Rural Non-Congregate (RNC) meal service option in the summer food program, which was partially in place in Michigan during the summer of 2023, will be fully implemented for the summer of 2024.
“MDE is committed to leveraging every available option to reach and feed more children during the summer,” said State Superintendent, Dr. Michael Rice. “The recent pandemic has taught us so much about the ongoing need in our communities and with these expanded offerings, we will continue to reach the state’s most vulnerable.”
Non-congregate meal service means a food service in which meals are made available for children to enjoy in non-group settings. According to the USDA, non-congregate meal service may only be operated at sites designated as ‘‘rural’’ and with no ‘‘congregate meal service.”
In 2023, the Meet Up and Eat Up Summer Food Service Program served nearly 4.5 million healthy meals at more than 1,400 sites throughout the state. By implementing the USDA’s early option to reach more kids in rural areas, Rural Non-Congregate meal service accounted for nearly 1.4 million meals, an increase in the hardest to reach areas of our state. MDE will continue to promote this option in rural areas.
The MDE encourages school and community sponsors with eligible sites to provide meals during the summer months. If a district’s program is in a rural area, it should think about the possibilities to serve meals using the RNC meal service option to reach more households.
“We are working to increase the awareness of the program’s availability, get more community members involved, and provide meals to as many children as we can across the state,” Dr. Rice said. “How can people make a difference? Spread the word; sponsor a program; host a site!”
Program success is a team approach. Helping sponsors by highlighting the Meet Up and Eat Up program in their communities is one way to assist. Community partners can also help by identifying the best site locations, marketing and advertising the program, and contributing to program costs. If community partners use social media to publicize the SFSP, more families can connect to summer programming and nutritious meals.
To find an SFSP site in a community, people can visit the Meet Up and Eat Up SFSP Site locator map at MDE's Summer Food Service Program. All site information, including meal service times and serving dates, will be available once school is out for summer recess. The locator map website is updated regularly throughout the summer months.
For more information about how you can help with the Meet Up and Eat Up SFSP this summer, contact MDE at 517-241-5374 or email@example.com. For more information on the SFSP, visit Department of Education Summer Food Service Program.
The SFSP is administered by MDE through funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is available to children 18 and under regardless of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), age, or disability.