Too often kids in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties don’t get enough to eat in the summer.
While nearly 300,000 children in those counties currently qualify for free or reduced price school meals, but right now only about 17 percent of kids who qualify participate in that program.
The grant will help United Way implement two primary strategies to ensure that more children have access to and participate in child nutrition programs throughout the school year and during the summer.
First, it will enable United Way provide partner organizations (community groups and schools) with the funds and technical assistance needed to run and expand Meet Up and Eat Up summer meals programs.
Second, it will support United Way’s efforts to implement robust community engagement, marketing, and canvassing strategies to ensure that children and families, school administrators, and the public know about both the Meet Up and Eat Up summer program and the School Breakfast Program available each school day.
“FCA US cares deeply about our communities and respects United Way for the work they do. In no uncertain terms, United Way is committed to improving lives,” says Brian Harlow, head of manufacturing, North America and FCA US United Way Co-Chair. “By focusing on key areas including education, economic prosperity and health, United Way works to connect corporations, non-profits and government agencies to tackle problems as a team, therefore, amplifying what no singular organization could do alone.”
Raising awareness about the free food programs remains a priority to United Way.
According to data from the Michigan Department of Education, the total number of summer meals served in 2016 in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties was 1,210,049.
“We are grateful for strategic partners like FCA US for helping us support families throughout the tri-county,” says Tanya Heidelberg Yopp, interim CEO, United Way for Southeastern Michigan. “With partnerships that reach more than 700 sites, this significant grant will help further our efforts for greater impact so that children continue to have access to this valuable free, meals program each summer.”
All donations to United Way this year count towards its overarching 2016-18 Annual Community Giving goal of $100 million – set by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne, who also serves as United Way Campaign Chair.