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Governor’s Address: If your family needs a helping hand, please visit a Summer Food Service Program site near you

No child should ever go hungry. But right now, one in five children in Maine don’t know where their next meal is coming from. 

While our biennial budget helps feed more hungry children in schools by eliminating the reduced-price lunch category and moving these kids to the free-lunch category, it can be hard for families to get nutritious food when schools are out for the summer.

I want to tell you about the Summer Food Service Program. Funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it helps fill the gap with free, nutritious meals for children and is available statewide in areas of need at sites like schools, nonprofit summer places, government agencies, faith-based organizations, and churches.

Some schools keep their doors open during the summer to continue to serve hot meals, while other agencies pack up coolers and head to local playgrounds, swimming pools, and parks to provide free meals for kids. Children taking part in activities with their friends and family also get a healthy meal that meets the USDA guidelines for nutrition.

Last year, more than 123 sponsors at 450 sites in every county in Maine served more than 727, 238 meals.

Anyone under the age of 18 can come to eat at no cost, no questions asked. To see if there are free meals for kids near you, visit usda.gov/summerfoodrocks. 

You can also text “Summer Meals” to 97779 or call Maine 211. Meal serving dates and times are subject to change over the summer, so be sure to check the website often.

I hope these summer months are filled with precious time with your family, friends, and neighbors and not hunger. If your family needs a helping hand, please visit a Summer Food Service Program site near you. Not only will a child have access to a free, healthy meal, but you will also be supporting your local school and community organizations. 

Thank you.

Janet Mills

Governor

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