Meet Up and Eat Up summer program begins in Jackson

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) –Many families depend on school meals for their kids. Now that the school year has ended for most of our local districts, it’s time for the Meet Up and Eat Up program to start for the summer.

In 2023, Meet Up and Eat Up said they served more than 4.5 million meals throughout Michigan.

“We serve about 1500 kids a day for lunch and then another about 800 kids for breakfast,” said Brant Russell, food service director of Jackson Public Schools. “Our kids depend on these meals on a daily basis. Breakfast, lunch, and we even do supper during the school year.”

Meet Up and Eat Up Summer Program
Meet Up and Eat Up Summer Program

Russell says the program is a staple for families.

“The Jackson area is a very needy area. Our system has about 72% of kids that receive free and reduced meals.”

For the program, it’s a priority to make getting meals easy for Jackson families. In addition to their sites around town, they also offer other options.

“We have a van that rolls around to some community areas and low-income housing centers…so kids wouldn’t have to necessarily come to a site. They can go to something that’s close in their neighborhood,” said Russell.

On top of the free meals, some sites will offer games and books as well.

Meet Up and Eat Up Summer Program (WLNS)
Meet Up and Eat Up Summer Program (WLNS)

Russell says it’s heartwarming for him to see the impact that programs like Meet Up and Eat Up have on people.

“I think it just fosters a sense of community and I feel that’s needed,” Russell said.

With the help from the YMCA, local churches, and the health department… Jackson Public Schools will be serving all children under the age of 18.

On June 17, about 20 other sites around Jackson will begin serving breakfast and lunch on weekdays through August 9th. Find more information on their website.

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