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Grand Rapids Food Program Expanding To Include Kentwood | Community Spirit

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Grand Rapids Food Program Expanding To Include Kentwood

GRPS Receives Grant to Continue Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer Food Program; Expanding Program to Kentwood Public Schools

A pilot program that provides families in Grand Rapids with additional food benefits in June, July, and August received a grant to expand the program in 2013. The expansion will allow more families to receive the benefits and increases eligibility to include families from Kentwood Public Schools. The grant came from the US Department of Agriculture.

The program was created to provide low-income families with additional help in obtaining nutritious foods for their children in the summer months, when they are not in school, to reduce summer hunger and improve food security.

In 2012, GRPS selected 5,000 students to receive the additional benefits based on a random lottery. In order to be placed in the lottery, students had to be eligible for free or reduced lunch, and their parent had to return a consent form. In 2013, that number will grow again and include students from both GRPS and Kentwood Public Schools.

Students who were enrolled in the program last year will remain in it for this summer and continue to receive $60 in benefits. The additional students will once again be selected via a random lottery system. They will receive either $30 or $60 per month. GRPS and Kentwood Nutrition Services will be sending letters home to parents with more information in the coming weeks. Families that are selected will be notified in May.

Additional grants from the USDA will expand the program in other Michigan school districts, including Bay-Arenac Intermediate School District, Clare-Gladwin Regional Education Service District, Midland County Education Service Agency, Detroit Public Schools, and Tuscola Intermediate School District. Michigan and Texas were the only two states chosen by the USDA to test the WIC modeled program. Three other states are testing new food stamp and bridge card systems for the USDA.

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