‘Meet Up and Eat Up’ offers free summer meals to students

WAYLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — When school ends, so does the main source of meals for many West Michigan children. That’s where Meet Up and Eat Up comes in.

It’s a food service program administered by the Michigan Department of Education that’s run on a local level by program sponsors. Meet Up and Eat Up was created to ensure all children get a chance to eat nutritious food during summer.

Programs are offered at many locations in all counties across West Michigan.

Children who are 18 years or younger can participate in the program. People of any age with a mental or physical disability that has been confirmed by the MDE, school district or public school academy and are enrolled in a public or nonprofit private school program are also eligible.

Sam Sallee says she’s relied on the program in years past to help her family out during the summertime when her kids are done with classes at Otsego Public Schools.

“It was great because it was convenient. It saved me on the food bill, because other than that, you know, you’re buying groceries it seems like every three days,” she said. “I didn’t have to worry about you know, them using the stove or you know, eating chicken nuggets every day.”

The state has created an online database where families can search for sites participating in this year’s Summer Food Service Program. (LINK: ) Each listing includes the site name, address, phone number and meal times. A green icon means the site is open now; the blue icon means the site hasn’t opened yet.

Certain locations offer other meals and activities as well, including Wayland Union Schools. The district is partnering with local businesses and the Henika District Library for free summer events that will include a free meal as well.

The district’s events start Wednesday with a bounce party at Wayland City Park, complete with a DH and free ice cream treat.

A free lunch will be served to children ages 18 and younger from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Adults may also buy a lunch for $3.

For additional events in Wayland, visit the school district’s website.