Let's Continue to Feed Kids This SummerContact: Martin Ackley, Director of Public and Governmental Affairs 517-241-4395Agency: Education
March 5, 2021
LANSING – Meet Up and Eat Up Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sponsors have been working hard serving meals to children in their communities, and the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) encourages all school sponsors with eligible sites to continue providing meals during the summer months.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved national program flexibilities in the SFSP to serve all children (18 years and younger and up to age 26 with a disability) in Michigan regardless of site eligibility in a non-congregate setting. Many sponsors have stepped up and used these flexibilities.
“With many families in need and food banks in high demand during the pandemic, all Michigan children are encouraged to use the summer food program in their communities,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “Meals provided in the summer food program meet nutritional standards to help keep the body fueled and healthy. School districts and sponsors are ready and available to serve nutritious meals to help boost children’s learning while supporting local food service.”
Sponsors can provide meals in various ways: multiple meal distribution (serving multiple days of meals at one time); parent/guardian pick up (parents/guardians may pick up meals without children present); grab and go; meals in the classroom; hot and/or cold meals; and home delivered meals.
Program flexibilities around eligibility, as outlined by COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #60, allow the ability to operate open SFSP sites in areas that are not located in areas in which poor economic conditions exist. The SFSP sites also have the following meal service flexibilities:
- Non-congregate feeding (COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #61)
- Parent and guardian pick-up (COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #62)
- Meal pattern flexibility (COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #63)
- Meal times (COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #66)
- Offer versus serve (COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #67)
Children and families rely on programs like the SFSP year-round. With the approval of federal waivers last summer, sponsors provided an increased number of meals to children, showing the need for the SFSP does not end. MDE encourages sponsors that are eligible to continue to provide nutritious meals in their communities.
Sponsors can help by highlighting the Meet Up and Eat Up program in their communities. Partners can help by planning 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.
“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.
To find an SFSP site in your community, visit the Meet Up and Eat Up SFSP Site Locator Map at www.michigan.gov/meetupeatup. All site information (mealtimes, days open, and serving dates) is updated regularly.
For more information about how someone can help with the Meet Up and Eat Up summer food service program this summer, please contact MDE at 517-241-5374 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the SFSP, please visit www.michigan.gov/sfsp.
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, age, or disability.