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Meet Up, Eat Up, and Read Up!

July 31, 2014

LANSING – Thousands of books will be provided to children across Michigan this summer in an innovate partnership that combines reading and nutritious meals.

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has partnered with First Book, a nonprofit organization that provides access to free and low-cost new books for schools and programs serving children in need. This partnership will provide all of the more than 1,400 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sites with a collection of free books aimed at keeping kids excited about reading during the summer.

Earlier this year, State Superintendent Mike Flanagan announced an effort to help build a Culture of Reading in Michigan, and Meet Up, Eat Up, and Read Up™ is one of the many initiatives allowing the department to build upon that effort.

“This is a very exciting new aspect of our Culture of Reading initiative,” Flanagan said. “Many families don’t have the means to buy books, and kids even have limited access to books, especially in the summer.”

Through this partnership, MDE will provide each of the nearly 300 SFSP sponsors that have registered with First Book a collection of 10 free books suitable for kids and teens at each of the participating sites.

Once their collections are received, sites also will be able to register their individual locations with First Book. Once registered, sites will have direct access to new books, including through the First Book National Book Bank (, which makes new books donated from publishers available for between 35 and 50 cents per book in shipping, and the First Book Marketplace (, which offers more than 5,000 titles for 50 to 90 percent off retail prices.

“Reading is the foundation of learning and success,” Flanagan said. “Building a Culture of Reading in every corner of this state will build a stronger Michigan for generations.”

Access to this resource is not limited to sites participating in the Summer Food Service Program. Check the First Book website for eligibility requirements.

Anyone interested in more information about Meet Up, Eat Up, and Read Up™ or how they can get involved this summer, please contact MDE’s Office of School Support Services, Summer Food Service Program, 608 West Allegan Street, P.O. Box 30008, Lansing, Michigan 48909, 517-373-3347; or on the MDE website at