$6.9M to help Michigan kids get healthy meals this summer - WNEM TV 5

$6.9M to help Michigan kids get healthy meals this summer

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FLINT, MI (WNEM/AP) -

Officials say Michigan is receiving $6.9 million in federal funding to help more than 83,000 children get healthy meals this summer.

The update was announced Friday in Flint by Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Kevin Concannon, the undersecretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services. Concannon oversees food assistance programs.

Stabenow notes that thousands of children in Detroit and Flint will be eligible to participate in the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer for Children program. It's especially important in Flint, where the city is dealing with a crisis with lead-tainted water.

"We have about 16,000 children and young people that at the end of the school year are going to know that they continue to have access to healthy foods. Fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, eggs, all the other things that are important for them. Particularly given the fact that with lead exposure, healthy, good food is really important."

Exposure to lead can cause behavior problems and learning disabilities in young children. Some healthy foods can help address effects of lead exposure.

Under the program, each child would receive an EBT-type card in which the parents can buy up to $30 worth of healthy food for a month at a time.

"The beauty of those cards is that the benefit is awarded for a month of benefits. They have to get to one of the 46 stores and they can only use that on healthy foods," said Concannon.

The USDA says $26.9 million is being distributed nationwide.

Copyright 2016 Associated Press/WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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