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$160-M Child Hunger Program in Michigan: See How Whitmer Fills Gap

Child Hunger
This representation photo shows a child sitting on a bench as Michigan new budget proposal aims to fill kids’ hunger gap. (Photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash)

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently announced a new proposal to tackle the issue of child hunger in the state. 

The $160 million plan is designed to close the hunger gap and ensure that all Michiganders have access to healthy and nutritious food regardless of family income. 

child hunger

This representation photo shows a little girl wearing blue and white tank top looking outside of the window as Michigan aims to fill child hunger gap soon. (Photo by Jeremiah Lawrence via Unsplash)

If approved, Michigan will become the fourth state to provide free lunches or food beneifts to all children enrolled in public schools.

The free lunch program, per WILX-TV,  could save families in the state approximately $850 every year.

$160 Million Child Hunger Program in Michigan: Gov. Whitmer To Fill Gap

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s proposed budget, per WCRZ, will grant free breakfast and lunch to Michigan schoolchildren to fight child hunger. According to the proposed strategy, the state would require around $160 million from the School Aid Fund.

Mary Darnton, director of food services at Jenison & Hudsonville Schools in Georgetown Township, which is located between Grand Rapids and Holland, said in a Spartan Newsroom report that offering free meals to all children relieves the stress of worrying about paying for school lunches for both students and families.

Darnton stated that the initiative also frees parents from the burden of completing paperwork and may dispel any shame attached to consuming meals supplied by the school.

When the bill is passed into law, certain districts in Michigan may decide to provide children who are unable to pay for a meal and do not get assistance with an alternate meal. When that occurs, it can increase the stigma associated with free and reduced-price meals.

ALSO READ: Does New York Ban The Use Of Food Stamps: To Purchase Butter And Meat?

COVID-19 Pandemic Free Lunch

Lansing City Pulse mentioned that the fedeal government stopped financing the statewide free lunches in Michigan in July 2022. Free and reduced meal programs to fight child hunger are only available to families that cannot afford them during this academic year. 

The prior financing was supplied by the federal government under COVID-19 assistance. Lansing City Pulse, citing the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said that families must resume their pre-pandemic routines. 

Based on home income, the Michigan League for Public Policy estimates that about 715,000 students in the K–12 public school system will be eligible for free and reduced lunches in 2021. 

Michigan School Data recorded around 1,443,456 kids enrolled in public schools during the 2021–22 academic year.

However, Daniel Connors – the director of food and nutrition services at Chippewa Valley Schools in Macomb County – said in the same Spartan Newsroom report that there are always hungry kids regardless of the community. Hence, they are pushing for a state-wide program to fight child hunger.

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