News

Oct 10, 2014

Summer Food Services Program Tallies 2014 Meals and Snacks

The Opportunity Alliance’s Summer Foods Services program served 57,108 meals and snacks to children from June 24th to August 23rd throughout Cumberland County.

The Opportunity Alliance’s Summer Foods Services program served 57,108 meals and snacks to children from June 24th to August 23rd throughout Cumberland County. This number included 11,366 breakfasts, 37,407 lunches, and 8,335 snacks. This is approximately the same number as last summer which saw a significant increase over the previous summer. Our Summer Food Service Program collaborates with numerous community partners and volunteers to ensure that nutritious meals are available Monday through Friday for children during the summer months when school is out. Our Kids Katering program prepares the meals and snacks which are delivered to locations throughout Cumberland County.

Many Maine children and teens depend on free or reduced-price school lunches and breakfasts for nine months of the year.  In fact, more than half of the students enrolled in the Portland Public Schools alone receive free or reduced-price lunches during the school year. Summer vacation exposes many of these children and teens to increased risk of hunger and developmental decline.  This is a problem nationwide.  Typically, only 20 percent of the 3,700 students eligible for free and reduced-price meals take advantage of the summer program.  These past few summers, however, a concerted effort to raise awareness and to serve meals at more locations such as playgrounds in neighborhoods where there is subsidized housing, helped to boost the number of meals substantially over last summer. 

The Summer Food Service Program is federally funded and administered by the Maine Department of Education.  Local partners working to increase participation include The Opportunity Alliance, Portland Public Schools, The United Way of Greater Portland, the City of Portland, Healthy Portland, and Preble Street Resource Center.

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