Forgotten Harvest provides free summer meals for kids

Sarah Rahal

Forgotten Harvest is sponsoring a free summer meal program for children under a partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program, officials announced.

The Oak Park nonprofit on Monday began providing meals at two Detroit locations under the effort to ensure children have access to a full meal when school is not in session.

The program is open to children 18 and under or persons up to age 26 enrolled in an educational program for the mentally or physically disabled from a low-income area. It runs through Sept. 1.

“This program is needed when school is not in session because of the high number of food insecure families in the Detroit and surrounding area,” said John Owens, a spokesman for the nonprofit formed in 1990 to fight hunger and waste in Metro Detroit. “...many food insecure children receive meals, either free or at a reduced price when school is in session.”

Gleaners Community Food Bank reports more than 338,000 children in Michigan live in households that are food insecure and 58 percent of Detroit’s children live in poverty.

Forgotten Harvest hopes to serve 10,000 lunches during the summer through the Summer Food Service Program, officials said.

The Summer Food Service Program started in 1968 as the Special Food Service Program for Children but is now known under the “Meet Up and Eat Up” brand. The program is federally funded administered by the State of Michigan Department of Education.

The meals will be provided from noon to 2 p.m. Monday to Friday at the Corp. for Artistic Development, 9520 Mettetal and from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday to Friday at Second Canaan, 9435 Hayes.

Forgotten Harvest said it’s working with partner sites to let families know of this opportunity for children from low-income households throughout Metro Detroit.

By collecting surplus perishable food from 800 partnering grocery stores, restaurants and more, Forgotten Harvest saved 45 million pounds of food from heading to landfills last year, according to its website.

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Twitter: @SarahRahal_