Online Map Hopes to Ease Michigan Summer Hunger Challenges for Youths
June 24, 2011
LANSING – Summer in Michigan is lots of fun. However, for thousands of children, summer may mean going without the healthy breakfast and lunch normally offered at their local school.
There are free meals available to children across Michigan through the Summer Food Service Program. Yet, despite serving more than 144 million free and affordable lunches during the 2010 school year, only 2.6 million meals were served through this program last summer.
In an effort to provide these free meals to more children, the Michigan Department of Education has created a SFSP Site Locator Map. This online map allows parents, youth, and food assistance organizations to find the nearest meal sites across the state.
"The free Summer Food Service meal sites are in most communities, we just need families to be aware and able to find them,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan. “This online tool is designed to provide greater information and access to nutritional meals for kids during the summer.”
The map is simple to use – just go to the Map webpage, click on the site nearest you and a pop up window with hours of operation and meals served appears. The map is updated weekly throughout the summer as additional sites begin operation. The public is encouraged to check the website throughout the summer for Summer Food sites nearest them.
The Summer Food Service Program was established to ensure that children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. Free meals, that meet federal nutrition guidelines, are provided to all children 18 years and younger at approved SFSP sites in areas with significant concentrations of low income children. SFSP operators include public and private nonprofit schools, residential camps, colleges or universities, government agencies, and other private non-profit organizations.
The SFSP Site Locator Map can be found at www.mcgi.state.mi.us/schoolnutrition or at the Summer Food Service Program website at www.michigan.gov/sfsp
The Summer Food Service Program, administered by MDE through funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is available to children regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.