Many K-12 school districts overwhelmed from passing out a large amount of meals

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) Many K-12 school districts are handing out meals to students and their families, but the demand is higher than expected.

Thousands of students in Michigan depend on school lunches and meals throughout the year. To keep children fed, schools have been handing out meals, but it’s more than just students who are showing up.

“Now, it’s their whole family taking home meals sometimes, we’ve heard that there are senior citizens that are coming to the schools that are trying to get some meals and just the wider community,” said CEO for the Greater Lansing Food Bank, Michelle Lantz.

A spokesperson from the Lansing School District says they are passing out nearly 8,000 meals a day.

“From what I heard from the school program is that they never really anticipated having to distribute that many meals in a given day, and so it’s very taxing on their distribution process and on their folks who are trying to make that many meals in a day,” said Lantz.

If the meals aren’t going to children, it actually hurts the school financially.

“The meals that are reimbursed by the Federal Free and Reduced lunch program, so they have to go to actual children.” said Lantz. “If meals are being provided to other people in the family, or people who are not affiliated with the school, those meals are not going to be able to be reimbursed to the school district.”

Now that schools are closed until at least April 13th, Lantz says it’s not feasible for schools to keep handing out meals at such a high rate.

“To continue this long term, it’s just not realistic for people to use that program as their primary method to get food,” said Lantz.

If you need food assistance you can call 2-1-1. Lantz says the wait may be long though because there are a lot of people calling in. You can also visit the Seen on 6 Section for a link to more food assistance resources.

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