Skip to Page Content

Feeding Kids

In Michigan, almost 1 million rural and urban households need help to afford enough food, at some point during the year. Hungry children have trouble concentrating, get more headaches and infections, are more likely to be hospitalized and are less likely to perform well on athletic fields and in classrooms. It's simply much harder for children at risk of hunger to thrive.

Despite Michigan’s robust efforts to establish emergency food networks and to deliver USDA nutrition programs, school systems are not yet fully using available breakfast options, and families have limited awareness of other available resources, including summer meals programs for children. As a consequence, significant barriers still exist for those who need reliable access to nutritious food.

More than 580,000 students across Michigan ate a free or reduced-price school lunch -– an important indicator of need -– during the 2010-2011 school year. Yet less than half of those students (48.2 percent), received free or reduced-price school breakfast. In addition, only 13.5 out of every 100 kids who ate a free or reduced-price school lunch in school year 2009-2010 participated in Summer Meal Programs. If eligible Michigan students participated in federal School Breakfast and Summer Meals programs at the same rate they participated in school lunch programs in 2010 and 2011, the state’s economy would have benefited from an additional $25 million, and more Michigan children would have access to the food they need to thrive.  Low enrollment can be attributed to a number of factors, including lack of awareness of available programs and services, language or cultural barriers and complicated enrollment procedures.

Michigan No Kid Hungry believes the most effective way to reduce childhood hunger in the state is to improve outreach to eligible families, help them access already-established programs and encourage community members to get involved to address the issue. Michigan No Kid Hungry will help to increase participation in school breakfast and summer meals programs, expand the reach of nutrition education efforts, and support economic growth.