Michigan No Kid Hungry Focus On Summer Food Access Will Encourage Kids to "Meet Up & Eat Up" Partners Achieve Year One Goals, Plan To Feed More Kids Across Michigan in 2013

Apr 25, 2013, 09:00 ET from United Way for Southeastern Michigan

DETROIT, April 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Michigan No Kid Hungry partners, including the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, Michigan Departments of Human Services and Education and the United Dairy Industry of Michigan, will launch a summer-long, statewide campaign encouraging children to "Meet Up & Eat Up!" at hundreds of summer foods sites in Michigan. 

National benchmarks suggest that 40% of kids who regularly eat free or reduced price school meals also need access to summer meals if their year-round nutritional needs are to be adequately met. Currently in Michigan, only 15% of kids who eat free or reduced price school meals have access to free summer meals. In Michigan and 17 other states, No Kid Hungry is working to close that summer meal gap.

"Meet Up and Eat Up!" is a major focus of the Michigan No Kid Hungry Year Two plan, which builds on the successes of the Year One efforts in Southeast Michigan, and expands No Kid Hungry efforts to 5 more communities across Michigan.

Michigan No Kid Hungry also released 2012 data indicating that members of the partnership successfully increased summer food access, school breakfast consumption and nutrition education opportunities for Michigan children in 2012. The partners set a 2012 goal of a 2% increase in all three program areas and announced today that they met and exceeded the 2012 goals.

"United Way for Southeastern Michigan is proud to be the lead partner in the effort to build a stronger collaborative effort to end childhood hunger in our region and throughout Michigan," said Michael J. Brennan, President and CEO, United Way for Southeastern Michigan. "Much of our success in 2012 is the result of the relationships we are building with our national partner Share Our Strength, the State of Michigan and many critical non-profit and corporate partners. When we align our priorities and work with one vision, we can make real and sustainable progress."

"Like our Pathways to Potential model, we knew that public, private and non-profit partners working together would be the key to success for Michigan No Kid Hungry," said Maura Corrigan, DHS Director. "The DHS team is proud to be feeding children through collaboration, and looks forward to helping grow No Kid Hungry in year number two, through our Pathways schools— and beyond."

The Michigan No Kid Hungry, Year Two "Meet Up & Eat Up" outreach efforts will include statewide access to site information through 2-1-1 information and referral services, as well as a statewide text messaging resource that gives parents and children easy access to information about the nearest summer food sites.

Michigan No Kid Hungry team also released plans for 2013, including the expansion of No Kid Hungry to five more regions across the state, helping additional communities strengthen their ability to provide summer food, healthy eating education for children and increased access to school breakfast.

The No Kid Hungry emphasis on school breakfast will be coordinated with the Michigan Department of Education's Superintendent's Breakfast Challenge, with the goal of getting at least 60 percent of kids who eat school lunches to also eat a healthy school breakfast.

"Eating a school breakfast improves attentiveness and academic achievement, and establishes healthy eating habits for life," said State Superintendent Mike Flanagan. "We will be highlighting each school's breakfast success on their annual school scorecards."

In 2013, Michigan No Kid Hungry will work toward an additional 2% increase in school breakfast and nutrition education and will work toward a 4% increase in Summer Meals.   

"Ultimately, children are fed in the communities where they live, and Michigan communities have many of the tools they need to make No Kid Hungry a reality," said Sara Gold, Director, Michigan No Kid Hungry. "Michigan No Kid Hungry is a resource that can facilitate increased local collaboration and connect communities with existing statewide efforts.  In 2013, we will build our network, support new partners, and help Michigan families working to overcome difficult circumstances to meet their kids' nutritional needs."

For more information about Michigan No Kid Hungry, please visit: http://www.liveunitedsem.org/pages/michigan-no-kid-hungry

SOURCE United Way for Southeastern Michigan