By Mike Kruzman /

A popular program that provides kids with nutritious meals is in need of extra help due to the ongoing pandemic.

The Salvation Army of Livingston County’s Summer Lunch Bunch Program is traditionally a social event that helps families, particularly those with kids who receive free or reduced lunches during the school year, with nutritious meals during the summer. There is no income requirement or registration, however, and the program is open to all Livingston County residents.

This year’s program starts today and will operate weekdays at 5 locations through at least July 31st, but will look different due to the current situation and new guidelines. All meals and grocery pantry packs will be “carry out” style. It is being requested that only 1 person pick up for the entire family. Previous onsite activities will now be take-home craft activities with instructional videos posted on Facebook. Social distancing at the pick-up locations will be in effect, and all staff and volunteers will be wearing masks and gloves. The Summer Lunch Bunch is supported through community donations, as well as USDA and United Way grants.

Because of COVID-19, additional monetary donations are greatly needed this year. Last year the Summer Lunch Bunch served over 3,300 meals. The Salvation Army’s Mobile Lunch Program, which ran from mid-March until last Friday in a similar role, served over 3-times that number. Because of this, participation and expenses from the Lunch Bunch are expected to increase. The Salvation Army is asking for support of any denomination to help. $65 can support one child for all summer, and $650 can provide all meals at one site for a week. Monetary sponsors for crafts are also needed.

Support the Summer Lunch Bunch online at Do so by mail to P.O. Box 647, Howell, MI 48844; or drop off a donation at the Howell Corps office, located at 503 Lake Street, in Howell.

For more information, call (517) 294-4344.