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In Lake County, there is such a thing as a free lunch

The Meet Up & Eat Up Program provides free breakfast and lunch over the summer for all kids in Lake County

More than 90% of school children in Lake County qualify for free or reduced price lunch. To make sure they continue to eat healthy meals once school is out, the county’s school district offers free breakfast and lunch over the summer to any child in the county.

For our State of Opportunity project, Michigan Radio's Jennifer Guerra dropped by the cafeteria one sunny afternoon to check it out. 

Around 125 kids regularly show up Monday through Thursday at the Baldwin Elementary school cafeteria for the summer school meals program called "Meet Up & Eat Up." There are hundreds of these programs across the state, one in almost every county.

David Forrester is director of business and operations at Baldwin Community Schools, which serves all Lake County kids. He says they’ve been running the "Meet Up & Eat Up" program for about seven years now, thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

"It’s important for us as a school district to understand, especially in this community, that the meals we provide as a school district are the only nourishing meals that they’re getting," says Forrester. "This is a way for us to continue that during a time when we don’t always have contact with the students."

You can hear more about Jennifer's trip to the Baldwin school cafeteria - including what the kids think about the food! - by going to ourState of Opportunity website.

Jennifer is a reporter for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and was one of the lead reporters on the award-winning education series Rebuilding Detroit Schools. Prior to working at Michigan Radio, Jennifer lived in New York where she was a producer at WFUV, an NPR station in the Bronx.
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