Maine –With the approval of yet another waiver to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and additional bulk packaging options, the Maine Department of Education has been able to add significant flexibility to its school food service programs, enabling schools to provide meals to students all over Maine, increasing the potential to reach even more hungry children in a more meaningful way.
The first waiver obtained by the Maine DOE expanded the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) allowing school districts and community partners to provide meals to students during extended remote learning due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Today Maine DOE received approval for a waiver to the requirement that National School Lunch Program participants must have a population of at least 50% who receive free or reduced- meals. Maine DOE requested flexibility to locate meal distribution sites in areas that do not meet the 50% criteria to ensure that any child can receive the meals they normally would on a regular school day during unanticipated school closures related to COVID-19. To maintain children’s access to meals, and to support families experiencing financial hardship, Maine DOE requested to waive the area eligibility requirements under 7 CFR 225.6(c)(2)(i)(G). This was approved by the federal Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).
The Maine DOE has also been granted flexibility to the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Summer Food Service Program, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program, allowing schools and community partners to prepare meals in bulk – multiple meals for several days in one package for children up to the age of 18.
Advanced planning of bulk meals is required to ensure that the meal pattern is met, and food will be stored and prepared in a safe manner. Bulk provisions would be provided for in home meal preparation.
Schools and community partners can now request approval from the Maine Child Nutrition team at the Maine Department of Education. For more information or to submit a request for an approval. Child.email@example.com
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Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.
To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:
(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
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The Maine Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination because of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, religion, ancestry or national origin.
Complaints of discrimination must be filed at the office of the Maine Human Rights Commission, 51 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333-0051. If you wish to file a discrimination complaint electronically, visit the Human Rights Commission website at https://www.maine.gov/mhrc/file/instructions and complete an intake questionnaire. Maine is an equal opportunity provider and employer.