Psst….Maine School Meals for All! Help Spread the Word!

— By Danielle Breunig, University of Maine Dietetic Intern 

Help spread the word to neighbors, family, and friends that Maine is working to end hunger by providing free meals for all school students. Nutrition insecurity is a problem in not only Maine but around the country. The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) helps address nutrition insecurity by providing nutritionally balanced, low-cost, or free lunches to children every day at school. Major benefits have been seen which emphasize the importance of providing free meals to all students and not just the students who meet income eligibility criteria. 

School Meal Benefits

Even though school meals are free for all students in Maine it is still important for families to fill out school meal benefit forms. Students that are eligible for free and reduced-priced breakfast and lunch may also qualify for EXTRA grocery benefits through another program called the Pandemic EBT program. Another reason to fill out school meal benefit forms is that it helps schools connect to more federal and state funding. This is because the number of students eligible for free or reduced meals determines the amount of federal funding the school gets to support educational, nutrition, and enrichment programs, and it also determines whether or not the school can provide additional free meals after school and during the summer. 

Application Process

More effort is being made to make the meal application process easier and more streamlined for parents and caregivers.  Even though schools are taking action to reduce the burden of paperwork, schools still need families to fill out forms so they can use that information to qualify kids for free, reduced-priced, or paid meals and help schools apply for other programs. These provisions are set in place to help schools serve all meals free of charge. 

Filling out school meal benefit forms is still important. School districts have made it super quick and easy to fill out school meal benefits forms. Families can apply for free and reduced school meals online for free. This is a safe and secure process, all information is protected. Get started by going online to to fill out the form.