In addition to the meals being provided to students by the Portland Public Schools (PPS), the nonprofit Locker Project is offering free bags of food to families at school meal distribution sites on Wednesdays and Thursdays on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Locker Project takes a whole-family approach to child hunger by providing healthy foods to take home for evenings and weekends, the times youngsters are most likely to experience hunger.
During the pandemic crisis, the district’s Food Service Department is serving free breakfast and lunch meals for anyone age 18 and under. Both can be picked up together anytime between 10 a.m. and 12 noon, Monday through Friday, from the bus loops at each participating school. No I.D. is necessary and youngsters do not need to be present or to qualify for free or reduced-price lunch or be PPS students to receive these meals.
The nine school distribution sites are: Deering High School, East End Community School, King Middle School, Lyman Moore Middle School, Peaks Island Elementary School, Portland High School, Presumpscot Elementary School, Riverton Elementary School and Rowe Elementary School.
The Locker Project is offering free food bags from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Wednesdays at Presumpscot, King, Rowe, and East End schools and on Thursdays at PHS, DHS, Riverton, and Lyman Moore schools.
“We are very grateful to the Locker Project for joining us to help families experiencing food insecurity during this crisis,” said PPS Food Service Director Jane McLucas. “We don’t want any students or families to go hungry.”
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maine is offering additional dinner Grab & Go meal options for those 18 and under and their family members at their clubhouses. However, beginning Monday, April 13, the meals will be offered only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, instead of each weekday, in order to protect staff by limiting time spent in the kitchen. Families can pick up additional meals for Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends during the new three-day schedule.
The clubhouses are currently closed for regular use but families can pick up the dinner meals at those sites from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The clubhouses are in Portland, South Portland, Riverton Park, Sagamore Village and Auburn/Lewiston.
Anyone who wants to help students and families coping with hunger in this crisis can donate to the PPS Food Fund. The fund is a collaboration by the Foundation for Portland Public Schools and Food Fuels Learning to help ensure food security for PPS students. Learn more: https://foundationforpps.kindful.com/?campaign=1046737
For a full listing of schools and locations offering meals to students visit: https://www.maine.gov/doe/meals
This story was submitted by Tess Nacelewicz, Communications Coordinator for Portland Public Schools as part of the Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. To submit a story or an idea, email it to Rachel at firstname.lastname@example.org.