AUGUSTA — With the assistance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Maine public schools have long offered a nutritious breakfast and lunch meal program to thousands of children in Maine during the school year. With summer right around the corner, it’s time to think about keeping children healthy while school is out. The Summer Food Service Program, through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, operates at hundreds of sites across Maine to ensure children get the nutrition they need when school is out.
“The National School Lunch Program is an important lifeline to our students for whom schools are a needed and consistent source for food. The Summer Food Service Program extends the access to food for children who might otherwise find themselves food insecure during the summer months.” Said Maine Department of Education Commissioner Pender Makin.
“We recognize that healthy bodies and healthy minds are needed for learning, and we are committed to assisting schools and communities as they address the needs of the whole child.”
The Summer Food Service Program may be offered statewide in areas or at sites where more than 50 percent of the children are eligible for free or reduced meal benefits under the National School Lunch Program, or where census track data supports the need. Eligible sponsoring organizations include schools, nonprofit residential summer camps, government agencies, and tax-exempt organizations, including faith-based organizations.
In 2018, 123 sponsors participated in the program, serving meals at 450 sites throughout the state. In 2019, these numbers are expected to grow. Sponsors operate open sites in all 16 counties in Maine; anyone 18 and under may come to eat at no cost. To find nearby Summer Meal sites, please visit USDA’s Summer Meal Site Finder website at: http://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks, text “Summer Meals” to 97779 or call Maine 211.
Information is available mid-June.
For more information about the Maine DOE’s Summer Food Service Program, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, call 624-6726 or visit https://www.maine.gov/doe/schools/nutrition/programs/sfsp.