The Summer Food Services Program kicked off in Bangor and Portland on June 19 and is in full swing throughout the state this month. In Bangor, five sites are open keeping students nourished through a cooperative effort of the Good Shepherd Food Bank, Bangor School District, Bangor Housing Authority, USDA, and Maine DOE’s Child Nutrition Services.
Under Maine law, a school administrative unit must offer meals if it has 50 percent or more of its students qualifying for free and reduced school meals, but many sites, like in Bangor, are also offering more than a meal. The kick off included a bounce house and a garden where students learn about seeds and plant growth. The Bangor Boys & Girls Club, who works closely with Bangor Housing Authority, also joined in along with Senator Susan Collins and the media in promoting the program.
The Summer Food Services Program is supported by Maine DOE with technical assistance and guidance in helping school districts in preparing meal sites. State wide there are 368 sites in every county (67 which are new this year) with 118 sponsors with the overall goal to help feed the children.