As Alpena Public Schools students get ready for summer break, that often means beginning summer vacations and not thinking about school.
For some families, however, their means for food are now gone. It’s estimated that 60% of APS students rely on the school system as their main source of nutrition.
“We want to help out all our school families, all our community families have an idea of where there’s some additional support, so if they are experiencing food insecurity, they have the opportunity to fill in those gaps and remain healthy over the summer,” said Lee Fitzpatrick, Communications Director for Alpena Public Schools.
Over the summer, nine different organizations are providing food services for those who may not have the means to provide for themselves, including the Salvation Army and the Boys and Girls Club of Alpena.
“To know that there’s agencies that are working together that they can fall back on and come to assist us, and so what the school did do later on, came and approached us and the other agencies, then of course we jumped in and said, ‘what are we already doing, can we enhance that and make that better to serve the people?'” said Major Prezza Morrison of the Salvation Army in Alpena.
These agencies will provide food for students at no cost, something each agency is proud of.
“When it comes to the program, the best thing at the end of the day is it’s free,” said Bradley Somers, Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Alpena. “We are not asking for payment, we’re not asking for financials to make sure they can afford it, anything like that, we are offering this food program for free.”
At most of these agencies, people can walk into their buildings and be provided a meal. All of these different organizations are proud to work with each other to provide a service like this to the community.
“If we all work together and say, ‘hey, what can you provide, what can you provide, what can you provide?’ we can do that and we can also then refer people to other agencies,” said Morrison. “We say, ‘we can help you with all of this, but this agency also helps with this,’ so go see them and they can help you with this. So I think it’s important that we all collaborate.”
More information about other agencies that are providing food services for northeast Michigan families can be found here.