Hannaford Donates $1M to Support “Fuel Kids at School” Hunger Relief Efforts

Hannaford Supermarkets announced a $1 million donation as part of its new “Fuel Kids at School” initiative that is designed to directly address food insecurity and improve access to fresh and healthy food for children.

“Children can’t be at their best if they’re hungry—or thinking about where their next meal will come from. It is our hope that Fuel Kids at School will take us one step further in nourishing our communities, one child at a time,” said Mike Vail, President of Hannaford. “We want access to food to be easy for kids. Locating food pantries where they are—at their schools should make a lasting and deep impact on child nutrition across our five states.”

Hannaford, in partnership with area hunger relief organizations, will establish over two years, 90 school food pantries across Maine and other northeast states. In Maine, Good Shepherd Food Bank received nearly $300,000 to establish school-based food pantries in 30 Head Start preschools throughout the state.

“The correlation between access to nutritious food and early childhood development and learning makes Head Start locations the ideal match for our next phase of school-based pantries,” said Kristen Maile, President of Good Shepherd Food Bank. “We know that expanding our pantry sites to serve pre-school-aged children and their families will play an important role in ensuring a bright future for Maine’s youngest citizens.”

Designed to serve as a vital and convenient resource to students and families in need while also increasing access to healthy and nutritious food, the in-school pantries are dedicated spaces where students can select food they enjoy according to preference and cooking abilities to provide nourishment both during the day and after the school day.

“The Fuel Kids at School funding, with its focus on Head Start programs, will enable us to make nutritious food readily available to more families at risk of hunger in the critical years before their children enter the public schools,” said Kathryn Sargent, Executive Director of the Locker Project.

The announcement took place in conjunction with a donation of $1,000 in school food pantry staples to the East End Children’s Workshop along with chef-prepared food for the parents and students at the local pre-school.

Hannaford Supermarkets has a longstanding commitment to supporting hunger relief in its communities. In 2018, Hannaford donated nearly 26 million pounds of food throughout the Northeast, including 5.3 million pounds in New York; and raised $1.1 million in partnership with its shoppers to feed individuals in need through the annual Hannaford Helps Fight Hunger program. Earlier this month, Hannaford announced that it has donated more than $1 million to non-profits throughout New York and New England as a result of its reusable bag program, a portion of which is dedicated to hunger relief organizations and has funded more than 1.8 million meals to date.

Manchester School of RSU 14 in Windham Celebrates National Farm to School Movement

Students, teachers, school garden coordinators, and school nutrition staff from Manchester School in RUS 14 along with representatives from The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry and the Maine Department of Education participated in a day of activities to celebrate growing, harvesting and eating local food on Monday November 4th.

The event included education about the importance of local food and the relationship schools are developing with local farmers to provide fresh, quality fruits, vegetables, and produce to Maine schools. Students worked with recently harvested carrots from their school garden to prep, cook, and sample fresh carrot curry soup and carrot muffins.

A fixture at the Manchester School for the past 20 years, the School Garden has become a big part of the community providing fresh produce for the school nutrition program, local shelters, as well as students, staff, and community members who provide a helping hand in keeping the garden going.

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To optimizing the growing season, the Garden features a hoop house and raised beds that allow students and school staff to grow fresh produce for almost the entire year-round. The Garden is also rooted in the curriculum, providing a bases for many lessons from science to English, and community development. “The learning continues even though we’re not out in the soil,” said Stacy Sanborn, 4th Grade Teacher and School Garden Coordinator. Staff members from the Manchester School wrote grants and utilized local volunteers, and local experts to put the hoop house in place, and it has been a huge success for them.

It was an exciting day of activities drawing TV cameras and photographers to capture students happily engaged in chopping, cooking, and learning for the very purpose of celebrating a moment that is quickly moving across Maine. The Manchester School in Windham is one of the more than 400 Maine schools that participate in a farm-to-school program.

The collaboration between the Department of Education and The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry continues this fall. The two departments are producing a series of public service announcements to showcase how more Maine farms can establish relationships and sell their produce to Maine schools.

For more information about the Farm-to-School Program, please visit this website.

 

 

No Cost Mandated Reporter Training Available to School Personnel

In 2015, Maine revised its mandated reporting law, requiring state-approved training for certain professions every four years. Specifically, it includes school personnel described as the following: teachers, guidance counselors, school officials, school bus drivers and school bus attendants.

Maine’s Network of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Councils is working to ensure that local school districts are aware of the changes and have the necessary resources to maintain compliance with Maine Statute. The local councils are able to provide in-person training at no-cost to the school districts.

As schools know, child abuse and neglect are serious issues, and school personnel often witness the challenges faced by Maine’s children.  In fact, according to the Office of Child and Family Services’ recent child welfare data, school personnel were responsible for over 20% of the total reported cases of suspected child abuse and neglect.  This demonstrates the importance of providing school personnel the most current, state-approved information for recognizing and reporting child abuse and neglect.  It is important that school personnel feel comfortable, confident, and fully understand their role as a mandated reporter. For information on how to access this free training, contact your local Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Council or visit the Maine Children’s Trust website. Click here to read the full law. If you have any additional questions please email Denise Trafton at the Maine Children’s Trust, deniset@mechildrenstrust.org.

School Bus Purchase Program Applications Open November 1

The Maine Department of Education is accepting applications to receive subsidy for new school buses purchased through the School Bus Purchase Program.  The application period is November 1 through November 25, 2019.

The Department will be able to approve about $9 million in school bus allocations that combines new bus requests and the prior year bus term commitment.  Round one applications will be accepted.  This program provides subsidy to school administrative units (SAUs) in order to offset partial cost of new school buses that are used to transport students to and from home and school and school events.  This program is a resource to help SAUs purchase new school buses, retire end of life school buses, and respond to emergency and special bus needs.  Eligible vehicles must meet Code of Maine Regulations Chapter 85 minimum qualifications, with the exception of Section 3.1.

The School Bus Purchase Program instructions and application information are available on the Maine DOE’s NEO website dashboard.  For more information or technical assistance, please contact Pat Hinckley at 624-6886 or email pat.hinckley@maine.gov .

School Civil Rights Teams Across Maine Help Launch First Annual Day of Welcome

On Friday, October 25, civil rights teams from across Maine participated in a Day of Welcome to celebrate and promote the idea that school communities are for everyone and all the parts of their identities protected under the Maine Civil Rights Act: race and skin color, national origin and ancestry, religion, disabilities, gender (including gender identity and expression), and sexual orientation. The event is sponsored by the Maine Office of the Attorney General through the Civil Rights Team Project (CRTP).

“The Day of Welcome is an important opportunity for us to ensure that all Maine students are included and welcomed in Maine schools,” said Attorney General Aaron M. Frey. “Civil Rights Teams play an important role in engaging our school communities in thinking and talking about issues which relate to the Maine Civil Rights Act. The work of these teams is premised on the belief that our communities and our state are stronger when all are welcome. I encourage all Maine students, families, and all members of our school communities to participate in this Day of Welcome and to work with Civil Rights Teams in their schools. I also encourage members of school communities without a Civil Rights Team to reach out to my office to learn how they can help grow this important program.”

The CRTP is a school-based program that supports student civil rights teams, who engage their school communities in thinking and talking about the six protected categories under the Maine Civil Rights Act. Now in its 24th year, it is available to all Maine schools, grades 3 and up, at no cost. There are currently more than 175 schools participating.

As part of the Day of Welcome, all participating teams created an inclusive welcoming message in their schools.

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