GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Due to the pandemic, the number of students eating meals that their schools provide is going down, including schools in West Michigan.
Grand Rapids Public Schools officials say that they’ve served just more than 860,000 meals so far this year compared with 2.8 million last school year. They want families to know that resources are still available and they’re there to help.
“We’ve seen a decline in meals served just due to the fact that students are not full time in school,” said Phillip Greene, the food and nutrition director for GRPS. “We are doing the best we can to make sure that we have accessibility to our students to get those free meals. The bottom line has been affected; there’s no doubt about that.”
Greene says the district wants families to know that they offer grab-and-go meals to students at most schools even if they’re taking classes virtually.
“A lot of kids are dependent upon daily meals, breakfast and lunch at schools. With the program we have right now with the pandemic, we want to make sure they still have access to breakfast and lunch meals,” said Greene.
According to Feeding America, one in seven children struggles with hunger in Michigan. That’s why Greene says it’s important that parents get the help they need.
“Please take advantage of it. We have the meals there. We want them to utilize the services to make sure their student, their child, have the meals they need on a daily basis,” said Greene.
Greene also says that GRPS is bringing back its summer meals program and they will have more locations available than last year. This is expected to begin in the middle of June.