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"We have the money to buy the food. We just don't always have the food to buy." Chippewa Hills ends summer food program

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Rick Brewer
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WCMU file
The Chippewa Hills School District covers 400 square miles in central Michigan. It's the second largest school districts, in terms of geography, in the lower peninsula.

As school districts across the state begin summer break, many kids who got free and reduced lunch will no longer be receiving them.

The Chippewa Hills School District in central Michigan has offered free and reduced food programs to students for years.

And for the past two years they’ve offered meals in the summer.

But the district covers 400 square miles and families struggled to travel, even with multiple drop off locations. It's the second largest school district, geographically speaking, in the lower peninsula.

Essentially, the service hasn’t been utilized.

"The problem is it works great in an urban area," said Chippewa Hills superintendent Bob Grover. "Where it's a close-knit community and you can walk and get your food.  But if you're going to drive 10, 12, 15 miles to get your food, they don't do it. And that was the problem."

Superintendent Grover says they wanted to continue the program. Grover says the funding is there, but they had trouble getting food from suppliers.

"We ordered 1,200 hamburgers, we got 500 hamburgers. We ordered 15,000 pounds of hamburger to make tacos. We didn't get any. We got ground turkey instead. We have the money to buy the food. We just don't always have the food to buy," said Grover. 

Chippewa Hills school officials told WCMU that suppliers are expecting delays and unfilled orders to continue into the fall.