Food Gatherers Fills the Summer Meal Gap 

Food Gatherers Fills the Summer Meal Gap with Summer Food Service Program, June-August

ANN ARBOR, MI (June 11, 2018)—Hunger does not take a summer vacation! Many kids in our community rely on school for breakfast and lunch. During summer months, their families cannot easily afford to replace those meals.

Through the Summer Food Service Program (also known as “Meet Up & Eat Up”), Food Gatherers helps fill the summer meal gap. Through partnerships with dozens of community organizations, Food Gatherers will make free healthy meals and snacks available twice daily to children at SFSP sites throughout Washtenaw County.

This summer, Meet Up & Eat UP will serve food from June 18 to August 24 at 30 different sites. Find the complete, up-to-date list of all locations serving free meals to children at foodgatherers.org/summerfood.

“We are planning to serve more than 30,000 free meals to children in our community this summer,” says LeRonica Roberts, Food Gatherers’ Community Food Programs Coordinator. “For many children, an SFSP meal is the most nutritious one they will have all day.” Roberts notes that the program is about more than food. “It brings people together, gives them a lift and builds stronger, healthier communities.”

In addition to serving free meals, Food Gatherers and partner organizations host a kick-off celebrations to promote the program and offer family fun nights during the summer. They also provide activities on-site to keep kids coming back. Children receive tote bags with jump ropes, coloring books, and soccer balls to get exercise, have fun, and make friends at Meet Up & Eat Up. They also learn about nutrition from interns from the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan who help families learn to prepare healthy meals on a budget at the feeding sites.

The Summer Food Service Program is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The actual costs of sponsoring the program exceed the reimbursement provided by USDA however. Gifts from private donors cover the extra costs and allow Food Gatherers to sponsor SFSP every year.

Congress created SFSP in 1968 after studies revealed a direct link between a child’s nutritional intake and their ability to learn in school. Food Gatherers is the largest sponsor of the program in Washtenaw County.

For more information, call Food Gatherers at 734-7612796 or visit www.foodgatherers.org/summerfood.

The Summer Food Service Program provides free meals to children 18 years of age and under or persons up to 26 who are enrolled in an educational program for the mentally or physically disabled that is recognized by a state or local public educational agency. The meals are provided without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability, and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) email: program.intake@usda.gov.

About Food Gatherers Food Gatherers is the food rescue program and food bank for Washtenaw County, distributing 6.5 million pounds of food to 170 non-profit programs serving close to 44,500 low-income adults, seniors and children annually. Food Gatherers’ direct service programs include the Community Kitchen, Community Kitchen Job Training, Healthy School Pantry, and Summer Food Service. More than 6,500 people volunteer for Food Gatherers each year. For 14 consecutive years, Food Gatherers has received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. For a list of food donors and recipient programs, or to learn how to become involved, visit foodgatherers.org or call (734) 761-2796.