Michigan schools serve millions fewer meals in pandemic, with financial consequences

Detroit Public Schools Community District has served about 2.2 million meals to students this school year.

Last school year, the district served 9.6 million.

The numbers from other large districts in Michigan are similar: Grand Rapids has served 863,169 meals so far this year, compared with 2.8 million last school year. Lansing Public Schools has served 1.2 million meals, compared with 2.6 million in the 2018-19 school year, according to the latest data provided by the district.

Statewide and nationally, participation in the national school lunch and breakfast programs has plummeted due to the pandemic. Districts, including Detroit, say the decline in meals served coincides with less in-person school. While some families have picked up grab-and-go meals offered since the start of the pandemic, the numbers show many are not turning to schools for meals.