MEDIA RELEASE: Student Nutrition Continues Beyond School Year with Summer Food Service Program

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, a U.S. Department of Agriculture program, 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 element of the Maine public school system’s dedication to providing a healthy learning environment for students, and we are equally dedicated to ensuring that healthy environment can be extended to them even when school is not in session through the Summer Food Service Program,” said Maine Department of Education Commissioner Robert G. Hasson, Jr.

“This program seeks to address a clear health need during the summer months wherever it may be evident in Maine, and while it has been successful in doing so in the past, the Department expects that increased participation this summer will further foster this success and, as a result, the continued health of Maine students.”

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 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 2017, 120 sponsors participated in the program, serving meals at 438 sites throughout the state. In 2018, these numbers are expected to grow. The 2018 program begins statewide today, Monday, June 18. 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 adriane.ackroyd@maine.gov, call 624-6726 or visit http://www.maine.gov/doe/nutrition/programs/sfsp/index.html.

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In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

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 ere they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, heard 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 discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at How to File a Program Discrimination Complaint 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;

(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3) email: program.intake@usda.gov.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. In accordance with State law this institution is prohibited from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation or disability. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs)

To file a complaint of discrimination, write Maine Human Rights Commission, 51 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333-0051. Maine is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Schools Selected for 2019 Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP)

Schools selected to participate in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) for School Year 2019 have been released.

For a list of awarded schools please visit the Child Nutrition website here. A total of 156 schools were selected to participate. School Year 2019 funding for the program will begin on October 1, 2018.

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) provides all children in participating schools with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables at no cost during the school day. The FFVP introduces children to a variety of produce that they might otherwise not have the chance to try. Eligible schools wishing to participate must submit an annual application to the Child Nutrition office.

For more information on FFVP please contact Stephanie Stambach, Child Nutrition Consultant at stephanie.stambach@maine.gov or 624-6732.

 

Yarmouth Wins Maine DOE 2018 Farm to School Cook-off

Congratulations to the school food service teams that participated in the 2018 Farm to School Cook-off: RSU 54, RSU 3, Cherryfield, Falmouth, Yarmouth, and Lewiston. Teams competed in different locations on April 5th, 9th and May 14th.

The annual cook-off is a voluntary, skills-based competition offered to school food service staff from all school districts across the State of Maine. The goal of the program is to recognize school nutrition staff for their skills and creativity while producing high-quality meals that can be replicated in a school kitchen. Read more about the events.

Below are some images captured during the final cook-off.

MEDIA ADVISORY: Maine Farm to School Cook-off final is today at KVCC

What:
2018 Maine Farm to School Cook-Off final. Read more about the Maine Department of Education’s annual Maine Farm to school Cook-off.

Who:
School food service staff and students creating breakfast and lunch meal. The winning teams from the two regional cook-off’s held in April will compete in the final cook-off.
Judges for the regional cook-offs include a student, a school nutrition director and a professional chef.

Where/When: 
Monday, May 14
Kennebec Valley Community College
Harold Alfond Campus, Averill Building, Hinckley, ME (campus map)
1:00pm start time (cooking begins promptly at 1:30pm)
Teams are representing RSU 54 and Yarmouth Public Schools

How:
Each volunteer team, consisting of one school food service staff and one student, will prepare a breakfast and lunch meal within a specific time frame using at least two ingredients that are grown, raised, caught, or manufactured in the State of Maine and meet National School Breakfast and Lunch Program requirements as well as one USDA food. Locally caught pollock and yogurt will be used as “challenge” ingredients in the competition.

Members of the media are welcome to attend the competition for further questions contact, Director of Communications Rachel Paling at rachel.paling@maine.gov or call 624-6747.

Maine DOE to host Farm to School Cook-off on April 5th and 9th

What:  The Maine Department of Education will host its Annual Maine Farm to School Cook-Off, a voluntary, skills-based competition offered to school food service staff from all school districts across the State of Maine. The goal of the program is to recognize school nutrition staff for their skills and creativity while producing high-quality meals that can be replicated in a school kitchen.

During the competition, each volunteer team prepares a breakfast and lunch meal within a specific time frame using at least two ingredients that are grown, raised, caught, or manufactured in the State of Maine and meet National School Breakfast and Lunch Program requirements as well as one USDA food. Locally caught pollock and yogurt will be used as challenge ingredients in the competition this year.

Who: Teams consist of local school food service staff and students, judges for the regional cook-offs include a student, a school nutrition director and a professional chef, and representatives from Maine DOE’s Child Nutrition team will also be present.

When/ where: The regional cook-offs will be held on three dates. Two cook-offs in different locations in the State and then a final cook-off event where the winners of the first two cook-offs will compete.

Thursday, April 5 from 10:00am – 1:30pm
Bath Regional Career and Technical Center, Bath, ME
10:00am start time (cooking begins promptly at 10:30am)
Teams are representing Falmouth, Yarmouth and Lewiston

Monday, April 9 from 1:00pm – 4:30pm
Hampden Academy, Hampden, ME
1:00pm start time (cooking begins promptly at 1:30pm)
Teams are representing RSU 54, RSU 3 and Cherryfield

The Date and location for the final Farm to School Cook-off will be determined after the are to be determined.

Please RSVP: For more information including a detailed agenda, and to RSVP, media should contact the Maine Department of Education Director of Communications, Rachel Paling at rachel.paling@maine.gov or call 624-6747.

Due to space limitations, these competitions are not open to the public; however, arrangements can be made by contacting Maine Department of Education Child Nutrition Consultant Stephanie Stambach at stephanie.stambach@maine.gov.