Whitmer up north to promote $160M for free school meals
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was in Traverse City on Wednesday, touting free meals for the state’s public school students.
The budget signed into law this summer sets aside $160 million for free breakfast and lunch.
Mitchell Klooster says that’ll make a big difference in Boyne Falls, where he teaches preschool. There, 85% of students eat school lunches every day and some don’t have access to different types of fresh food outside of school.
“Their families are using the microwave to cook a lot of their meals,” he said. “We're giving them diverse foods that they haven't tried before. … We’re connecting them with farmers that are dropping produce off right at the back door of the school.”
Klooster says some of his first students to benefit from the program are now entering high school and that reliable, nutritious, Michigan-grown meals have been a part of their learning the whole way through.
Whitmer promoted the expansion of free meals to all students during a visit to Cherry Capital Foods, which has distributed food for free school meals for years.
“This is going to be a real game changer,” Whitmer told reporters after touring the company's warehouse.
She said the program would save families about $850 per year, per school aged child.
“And most importantly, it'll get nutrition into our kids daily, so that they can learn while they're in school. And it supports local farmers.”
Whitmer says the new funding means 1.4 million Michigan students are eligible for free breakfast and lunch every day, starting this school year.
Michigan is the seventh state in the nation to offer free lunch to all students.
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