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My Town: Finding free meals while school is out

My Town: Finding free meals while school is out

School is out, leaving many children from low-income families without meals during the summer months.

That’s where the Michigan Department of Education’s Summer Food Service program comes in. The program provides nutritious meals to people 18 years of age or younger for free.  All participants need to do is show up.

There are hundreds of participating locations, including places in Walker, Grand Rapids North, Grand Rapids West, Grand Rapids South, Grand Rapids Central, Grandville, Wyoming, Kalamazoo, Kentwood, Holland, Grand Haven, Muskegon, Montague and Greenville. You can find the full list on the state website here.

My Town Kalamazoo: Emergency fuel relief now available

My Town Kalamazoo: Emergency fuel relief now available

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Families who are tight on money because of costly heating bills this past winter can now sign up to get relief.

The Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services’ Community Action Agency has funding available for homeowners who purchased any fuel source to heat their home between Jan. 1 and March 31, and are now facing financial hardship.  Each household can file for up to $850 in reimbursement.

The Community Action Agency also has an emergency fuel purchasing program for people who may be low or out of fuel for the colder season.  Each household may be eligible for up to $1,000. Both programs are open to all Kalamazoo County residents who meet the required federal income guidelines. Fuel funding will be available until the end of August or until all funds have been awarded.  To make an appointment of for more information, call the Kalamazoo County Community Action Agency at (269) 373-5066.

My Town: How to bridge the summer learning loss gap

My Town: How to bridge the summer learning loss gap

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (National Heritage Academies)—Every child will lose a portion of the academic growth they experienced this school year during the summer break; It’s called summer learning loss. The problem is becoming so apparent the National Summer Learning Association has designated Friday, June 20, Summer Learning Day.

“It is so easy for students to slip into a summertime routine that doesn’t involve reading, writing, or using their math skills,” said Ridge Park Charter Academy Principal Emory Wyckoff. “We are challenging our students to set aside time each day to devote to a book or write about a summer experience they have enjoyed. Summer should be fun and educational.”

Wyckoff has some tips to help parents curb the summer slide:

My Town: Fish for free June 7 and 8

My Town: Fish for free June 7 and 8

MUSKEGON, Mich.— Grab a rod and head out onto the big lake this weekend for Michigan’s Free Fishing Weekend.

On June 7 and 8, the state will be waiving fishing license fees.  Free Fishing Weekend applies to residents and out-of-state visitors on inland and Great Lakes waters for all species of fish.  All fishing regulations still apply.

According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, our state offers some of the finest freshwater fishing in the world, with more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, more than 11,000 inland lakes and tens of thousands of miles of rivers and streams. To find inland lakes in your area, click here.

My Town Kalamazoo: Concerts in the Park lineup announced

My Town Kalamazoo: Concerts in the Park lineup announced

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The lineup is out for this year’s Concerts in the Park.

Organizers of the summertime tradition at Bronson Park say this year’s series will feature a variety of musical acts, including jazz, big band, bluegrass, American roots and blues. After a two-year hiatus, The Verve Pipe will return to the Concerts in the Park stage to close out the season.

Each concert is free and family-friendly.  Visitors are encouraged to bring their own blankets, lawn chairs and meals; grilling will not be allowed.  PopCity Popcorn will be selling popcorn and water in the park during the events.

This year’s lineup includes:

June 8 – Kalamazoo Singers

My Town Kalamazoo: Army of volunteers transforms home into a Michigan first

My Town Kalamazoo: Army of volunteers transforms home into a Michigan first

KALAMAZOO, Mich.--  A once vacant home transformed by Habitat for Humanity is now ready to welcome a Kalamazoo family.

Volunteers, leaders and community members celebrated the dedication of 2335 Springmont Ave. Sunday afternoon. Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity donated the 88-year-old home, which hundreds of volunteers spent thousands of hours transforming into an energy efficient abode.  The first phase of work began during last year’s National Women Build event, when volunteers took the structure down to its studs.  Volunteers then meticulously removed lead paint and added nearly 500 square feet to the home’s original 660 square foot footprint. The house now includes three bedrooms, a kitchen, living/dining area, bathroom and entrance ramp.

My Town: Local children get TV debut with new Meijer commercial

KENTWOOD, Mich.-  A Kentwood boy is getting his chance at TV fame.

Carson, 4, is one of nine West Michigan children featured in Meijer’s newest commercials, starring the retailer’s beloved penny-operated pony, Sandy.  Carson’s mother says he always has to ride Sandy when they visit Meijer every other Thursday.  Afterwards, he leaves extra pennies for kids waiting in line.

 Meijer released two versions of the commercial; the 30-second spot will begin airing in five states in June and the 60-second version is already online.  Both spots feature photos from a Meijer Facebook contest held earlier this year.  For the shorter spot, the retailer selected 28 photos from the more than 3,200 submitted during the contest.  Four additional photos chosen for the 60-second version of the commercial.