Xavier Wege, 7, and his sister Arianna Wege, 5, of Royal Oak, play jump rope during the Meet Up and Eat Up program at Oakland Elementary June 27. The school is offering free breakfast and lunch Mondays through Fridays through Aug. 9.

Xavier Wege, 7, and his sister Arianna Wege, 5, of Royal Oak, play jump rope during the Meet Up and Eat Up program at Oakland Elementary June 27. The school is offering free breakfast and lunch Mondays through Fridays through Aug. 9.

Photo by Erin Sanchez


Oakland Elementary offers free summer breakfast, lunch program

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published July 1, 2019

 Edith  Anttila and her daughter, Sannah, 6, of Royal Oak, grab lunch through the Meet Up and Eat Up program at Oakland Elementary June 27.

Edith Anttila and her daughter, Sannah, 6, of Royal Oak, grab lunch through the Meet Up and Eat Up program at Oakland Elementary June 27.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

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ROYAL OAK — Oakland Elementary School, of Royal Oak Schools, is for the first time offering free breakfast and lunch June 19 through Aug. 9, with the exception of July 4-5, as part of the state’s Meet Up and Eat Up program.

The free meals are available Mondays through Fridays to students and children 18 and younger of any city or school district. Breakfast runs 9:30-10 a.m. and lunch runs 11 a.m.-noon. Adults can purchase meals for $3.

Between meals, children and their families are invited to participate in games and activities, such as basketball, four square, board games and puzzles, in the school gymnasium. Mike Jacobs, food service director for Royal Oak Schools, said officials are also working with the Royal Oak Community Coalition to come up with more fun things to take place during the summer food program, such as a fire truck display.

“It’s similar to the National School Lunch Program during the regular school year; however, the schools have to qualify based on the free and reduced lunch program percentages to participate in the program,” he said. “That’s why Oakland is the only one that qualified.”

He said the breakfast and lunch menus are very similar to what the schools serve during the school year, but vary from the national summer food program in that the local program offers breakfast and lunch to any child from any school or city, as well as anyone 26 and younger with special needs.

“They can just show up. If there was a large group coming, we would appreciate a heads-up, but we are ready for whoever shows up,” Jacobs said. “It’s a fantastic program. Any way we can meet the needs of hungry children, I’m all for it, and getting the word out is key, so hopefully we can get some more kids coming.”

Heather Wege, parent of an incoming second grader and a kindergartener at Oakland Elementary and incoming vice president of the PTA, said she was excited about the implementation of the Meet Up and Eat Up program.

“It’s nice to have something to do that they look forward to that gets them out and gives them something to do,” she said. “We come for both breakfast and lunch. They love the food, and it’s nice because my daughter will begin school in the fall and she’s becoming really comfortable with it.”

Besides being an outlet for healthy meals during the summer, Wege said she supports the social aspect the program provides, as well as the routine of being in school.

“I think one misconception parents have is it’s just for children in need,” she said. “I don’t feel like I’m getting handouts. It’s a fun thing, the kids love it and it gives me a little bit of downtime.”

Stephanie Willingham, a supervisor with the Summer Food Service Program, said the program began in the 1970s.

The SFSP was created to make sure that children in lower-income areas could continue to receive nutritious meals during long school vacations, when they do not have access to the National School Lunch or School Breakfast programs.

The program, known as Meet Up and Eat Up, is operated at the local level by program sponsors and is administered in Michigan by the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Health and Nutrition Services.

Willingham said Meet Up and Eat Up programs take place at a variety of locations, including schools, parks and libraries.

The state currently has 346 sponsors and 1,750 sites. Last year, more than 3.4 million meals were served to children in Michigan.

To find the nearest site, visit www.michigan.gov/meetupeatup, call 211 or text “Food” to 877-877.

Oakland Elementary is located at 2415 Brockton Ave., near Lincoln Avenue and Stephenson Highway.

Call Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik at (586) 218-5006.

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