State receives $5 million to help feed kids this summer

LANSING –Michigan has received a $5.5 million federal grant to reduce and prevent food insecurity and hunger among children during the summer months.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Service and Michigan Department of Education announced that the state is one of eight selected by the United States Department of Agriculture  to receive 2015 Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children funding.

“Programs like the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children are essential to promoting proper nutrition throughout the summer months,” MDHHS Director Nick Lyon said. “Balanced meals support optimal childhood growth and development, and therefore play an important role in keeping Michigan children on the path to success.”

In 2012, 3.9 million households that included children, or approximately 10 percent of all U.S. households with children, were food insecure at some point during the year. The SEBTC program is a household-based method of delivering nutrition assistance to low-income children in the summer as an alternative option to the existing Summer Food Service Program.

This year, Michigan’s funding will serve 40,599 students by providing families with Electronic Benefit Transfer cards to purchase nutritious WIC approved foods in the following school districts and intermediate school districts:

-Detroit Public Schools
-Grand Rapids Public Schools
-Kentwood Public Schools
-Bay-Arenac Intermediate School District
-Clare-Gladwin Regional Education Service District
-Midland County Educational Service Area
-Tuscola Intermediate School District
-Alpena Public Schools
-Houghton-Portage Twp. Public Schools

The SEBTC is the USDA’s alternative to the Summer Food Service Program which provides free meals and snacks to children who receive the National School Lunch Program or the School Breakfast Program during the school year. The SEBTC program in Michigan started as a pilot in 2011 when it served approximately 2,500 students in the Grand Rapids Public School District.