Local school districts had to quickly determine a way to feed their students when the pandemic sent everyone home in March. A program through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) known as the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) immediately began working on a plan for schools and non-profit organizations to provide the needed nutrition to area students.
Knowing the area around our 3rd St office not only as a food desert with little access to healthy fruits and vegetables, but also with greater than 90% of families qualifying for free or reduced meals, the Muskegon YMCA team began discussing options to fill the gap and provide a healthy alternative in meal bundles to students each week.
August 14 was our first meal distribution date and we haven’t stopped. Currently, we are approved to serve 400 meal bundles through May of 2021 with plans to continue through all of 2021, depending on program availability. Each Friday from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM, we distribute 7 breakfasts and 7 lunches in a bundle to students 18 and under or their caregivers – that is 2800 breakfast, and 2800 lunches each week! Anyone can pick up a bundle for a qualifying student.
We use fresh produce purchased from the YMCA Veggie Van , bread from Morat’s Bakery, milk from Country Dairy, fruit from local farms such as S&L Blueberry Farm, and Gordon Foods. Kuntry Kitchen’ provided an added snack one week.
One grandma, who comes each week, was so excited to tell us how her grandchildren actually ate the vegetables. She had been trying to get them to eat healthier foods and these meals helped her attain that goal for her grandchildren. Another participant is picking up meals for families she ‘met’ on a local facebook page who have need but no access to transportation.
Stop by, we would love to share a bundle with you.
One happy participant posted this: