Category Archives: Nutrition

Organizations needed to feed hungry children this summer

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 income eligible children in Maine during the school year. To extend this program, Maine Department of Education Child Nutrition (Maine DOE) is seeking organizations who would like to participate in the federally funded Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which provides children healthy meals when school is not in session.

“It is well documented that students learn best when they are not hungry. In fact, a nutritious, well-balanced diet is an important attribute of a great education,” says Maine DOE Acting Commissioner Robert Hasson. “Our nutrition programs in Maine serve our students well. With federal assistance, Maine needs partners for the Summer Food Service Program.”

In 2016, 119 sponsors participated in the program, serving an average of 12,182 lunches per day to children at over 400 sites. Although almost 700 more meals were served per day in 2016 than 2015, there is still a long way to go towards feeding all eligible children during the summer. Community partners are working to maximize the number of sponsors utilizing the availability of funds under the SFSP.

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. Organizations that provide services in rural communities or near migrant farm workers and American Indian populations are urged to participate. Eligible sponsoring organizations include schools, nonprofit residential summer camps, government agencies, and tax-exempt organizations including faith-based organizations.

Maine DOE encourages any eligible organization to consider providing this much-needed service to Maine children. The agency will begin accepting applications to participate in February. Approved sponsors will be reimbursed for eligible meals served to children during the long summer break.

Interested organizations should begin planning now for a successful summer. Potential sponsors are required to attend training sessions. For a complete schedule of trainings, please visit Maine DOE is available to attend meetings or consult by phone and email to answer questions regarding summer meals.

For more information about the Maine DOE’s Summer Food Service Program, contact, call 624-6726 or visit


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:

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 Department of Education, Civil Rights Officer, 23 State House Station, Augusta, ME, 04333 or call 207-624-6875. Maine is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


District wellness policies required to be updated by June 30, 2017

School administrative units participating in federal child nutrition programs such as the USDA National School Lunch Program are required to have updated wellness policies that comply with newly issued regulations. School wellness policies guide efforts to establish a school environment that promotes students’ health, well-being, and ability to learn.

Continue reading

Child Nutrition Services hosts Back to Basics training next month

The Maine Department of Education will conduct its annual Back to Basics training on August 23. This two-day event will provide an orientation for new school nutrition directors  and  other program staff involved in the oversight and administration of school nutrition programs who are interested in a refresher.

Continue reading

Summer meals programs expand in Maine

Child nutrition programs at the Maine Department of Education have been working hard to close the “hunger gap” experienced over the summer months through the USDA’s Summer Food Rocks food distribution program. Several new summer programs kicked off in June, reaching a total of 400 meal sites across the state supervised by 120 sponsors.

Continue reading

Schools in RSU 17 recognized with prestigious award

All eight elementary schools in RSU 17 were recognized as bronze award winners of USDA’s HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) at an assembly at Paris Elementary School. The awarded schools were Agnes Gray School, Guy E. Rowe School, Hebron Station School, Harrison Elementary School, Otisfield Community School, Oxford Elementary School, Paris Elementary, and Waterford Memorial School.

Continue reading

Summer food service program kicks off this month

Later this month, numerous agencies including the Maine Department of Education will kick off the sixth annual Summer Food Service Program in Bangor and Brewer.

Continue reading

Professional standards for school nutrition professionals

The Federal School Food Service Professional Standards took effect July 1, 2015. This impacts the hiring process for new School Food Service Directors or someone responsible for director duties hired after July 1, 2015.

Continue reading

Team Knox Rocks take State award in Farm to School Cook-off

Apple, maple, oat muffin tops, a spinoff of a banana spilt made with yogurt, a decorated hard-boiled egg, and a beat and berry smoothie were on the breakfast menu as two teams of school food service employees took to the kitchen at Kennebec Valley Community College this week. This was the final round of Maine’s first Farm to School Cook-off designed to promote using local products in school lunches.

Continue reading

Top teams compete in final Farm to School cook-off

AUGUSTA –School food service staff from RSU 61 and a combined team of Five Town CSD/MSAD 28 and RSU 13 will compete to become the 2016 Maine Farm to School Cook-off Champion. The final cook-off will be held today, Tuesday, May 17 at the Kennebec Valley Community College, Harold Alfond Campus in Hinckley at the Averill Building.

The competing teams are the top winners from the regional cook-offs which were held in April at the Westbrook Regional Vocational Center and the Capital Area Technical Center in Augusta. This is the first annual Maine Farm to School Cook-off to promote locally grown products in school meals.

Each team will prepare two meals within a specific time frame using at least three ingredients that are grown, raised, caught, or manufactured in the State of Maine and meet National School Breakfast and Lunch Program requirements. All recipes will later be shared in a Maine farm to school cook-off recipe book.

A panel of judges consisting of a Kennebec Valley Community College culinary arts student, school nutrition director, and professional chef will score the dishes based on presentation, taste, creativity, and feasibility to be used in a school breakfast or lunch program. The winning team will be awarded a plaque and have the opportunity to be spokespeople for the second annual cook off in 2017.

The cook-off is part of the State’s child nutrition projects and follows legislation to support healthy meals in schools. For more information on Maine’s Local Foods to Local Schools program, visit

Members of the media are welcome to attend the May 17 final cook-off but need to confirm prior to the day of the event.

For more information and to confirm coverage, contact: Anne Gabbianelli at or call 624-6747/592-4439.


Maine’s first annual Farm to School Cook-off promotes locally grown goods

The Maine Department of Education launched its first Farm to School Cook-off this month with volunteer, food service staff teams representing five school districts and communities. The cook-off is part of the State’s child nutrition projects and follows legislation to support healthy meals in schools.

Continue reading