LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Michigan is serving up free meals to all pre-k through 12th graders.
This will be made possible thanks to a $160 million state investment, which will allow public schools to offer students one free breakfast and one free lunch, beginning the first day of school.
According to Diane golzynski, Deputy Superintendent Michigan Department of Education, children will have access to fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and ultimately, healthy meals.
“A child shouldn’t have to worry about where their next meal comes from. And when you’re hungry, it’s the only problem you have. You can’t focus on the teacher. You can’t focus on the lessons,” Golzynski said.
Golzynski said Michigan is one of only a handful of states to offer this program to students, in a goal to limit the barriers to education.
“We have a goal of becoming a top ten education state, and we can’t do that if we don’t care for our children in all ways that we need, so that they can focus on their education. This was part of that greater vision toward that goal,” Golzynski said.
Golzynski said this dedicated funding was a vision of Governor Whitmer, and it is now a reality. By having meals available for children who are hungry, it means now they can focus on being a student and being the best they possibly can.
“When you’re hungry, you’re not thinking about what great things the teacher is talking about. You don’t have the memory that you had. We also know that when kids are chronically hungry, they have longer term health risks. They have higher rates of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke,” Golzynski said.
According to Golzynski, it also saves families money. She said it could save $800 per family per year.