Maine’s summer food programs serve over 1.4 million meals

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Kids benefitted from universal meals provided by USDA

PORTLAND — The Maine-based nonprofit, Full Plates Full Potential announced that 1,421,533 summer meals were served to Maine kids — which is over a 200 percent increase compared to last summer. These staggering results are in part due to the USDA leniences granted to the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) to address feeding children safely during the Covid-19 pandemic, The program traditionally provides access to free meals to any child 18 years old and younger in certain eligible high-need areas and require that children consume their meals on site. This summer, the USDA waived these requirements, among others, which allowed summer meal sites to deliver meals, offer multiple or bulk meals at once, and expanded the reach of the program into communities that would normally not be eligible to operate a summer meal program. These flexibilities drastically increased access to meals by removing barriers and essentially allowed any community to provide free meals to all children 18 and younger.

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