In 2008, Anju Brodbine, a Michigan parent, was reading an article on how Hilary Duff had adopted a school in Los Angeles for a new program called “Blessings in a Backpack”. Anju knew that she couldn’t just put down the article and forget about it because the thought of hungry children kept haunting her. She wondered if there were children within her own community on the free and reduced fee lunch program that could benefit from such a program.
When she did her research, she was truly surprised to find out how many children, within her relatively affluent community, were on the free or reduced fee lunch program. It broke her heart to think that, while her own children were so fortunate, there were so many of her children’s peers that were unknowingly struggling to have a meal on the weekend. Further research has shown her that the number was growing at an alarming rate because of the downturn in the economy.
The Avondale School District was the first school district in Michigan and serves children from Auburn Hills, and parts of Rochester Hills, Troy and Bloomfield Hills. The Avondale School District was the first in the United States to provide meals to all their districts at-risk children, striving to achieve the goal that no student in the entire district will be hungry on the weekend. Avondale’s initiative is an example to all school districts in Michigan on how we can demonstrate caring about the well being of all children beyond the classroom.
Each year the program in Michigan has expanded and is now in 29 communities and 60 schools and growing.
You might have seen or heard on the National website that $80 will feed a child for the entire school year. That is correct for the students that are on the National program and follow the National menu. Many of the communities in Michigan have elected to go with the Michigan menu. The menu has a few more food items, varies slightly from the National menu. The national program packs for 38 weeks. The Michigan communities have also elected to pack for a few additional weeks. This is why you see $100 per student in Michigan.