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. This year, many flexibilities were put into place to ensure children still had access to meals while learning remotely from home. We applaud everyone who worked hard to provide food to children during a challenging school year. With summer right around the corner, that important service must continue. The Summer Food Service Program, a U.S. Department of Agriculture program, operates at hundreds of sites across Maine to ensure children get the nutrition they need.
“During this unprecedented time, Maine’s National School Lunch Programs have truly demonstrated their importance in providing a lifeline to our students for whom schools are a much needed and consistent source for food.” said Maine Department of Education Commissioner Pender Makin. “The Summer Food Service Program will continue to provide this invaluable resource to Maine students, 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 Summer 2019, 122 sponsors participated in the program, serving meals at 467 sites throughout the state. Sponsors operate open sites in all 16 counties in Maine; anyone 18 and under may come to eat at no cost. Many sponsors will be utilizing USDA flexibilities which allow meals to be consumed off site to promote physical distancing, and are offering innovative delivery and service models to meet the demand safely. To find nearby Summer Meal sites, please visit USDA’s Summer Meal Site Finder website at: https://www.fns.usda.gov/meals4kids, text “Summer Meals” to 97779 or call Maine 211.
Information is available late-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.