Child Nutrition Programs

USDA Programs Monitored by Maine Department of Education

The Maine Department of Education oversees several USDA Food and Nutrition Services programs and initiatives that provide healthy food to children. Each of these programs helps fight hunger and obesity. Below are brief descriptions of the programs and initiatives. Maine receives over $45 million from USDA for these programs.

  • Afterschool Snack Program (ASSP).
    Provide after school snacks to children participating in structured educational programs. Schools with more than 50% free and reduced students provide the snacks free to any participating student.
  • Breakfast Program (SBP).
    Federally funded program that receives additional financial support in Maine to increase participation and acknowledge the importance of breakfast in improving learning.
  • Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP).
    The program provides a grant to elementary schools that are 50% or greater free and reduced. The funds are used to provide fresh fruit and vegetables to children outside of the school meals, often served as a snack. This program has helped students try new foods and increases their consumption of fruits and vegetables during the day.
  • Lunch Program (NSLP).
    The National School Lunch Program provides low-cost or free healthy meals to children. Schools must follow federally established guidelines.
  • Summer Food Service (SFSP).
    Provides meal reimbursement to eligible summer programs. Communities throughout Maine have opened the door to the SFSP and helped close the door on summer hunger. Sponsors include schools, community recreation programs, nonprofit organizations and camps.
  • USDA Food Program (FD).
    Provides food to schools to help reduce plate cost. The program offers frozen vegetables, grains, meat, canned fruits, and fresh vegetables and fruit.
  • USDA Food Program Processing Information
    School Districts have the option of taking USDA Food's raw products and processing them through the net-off invoice program or a fee for service.
  • Special Milk Program
    Provides milk to children in schools and nonprofit summer camps who do not participate in other federal meal service programs. The program provides reimbursement for the milk they serve to children.
  • Child and Adult Care Food Program The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a federally funded nutrition program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Services (FNS). The program's purpose is to ensure that nutritious meals and snacks are served to eligible children and adults in qualifying care facilities.

Child Nutrition Projects

  • Local Foods to Local Schools. Across Maine, an increasing number of schools and districts have begun to source more foods locally and to provide complementary educational activities to students that emphasize food, farming, and nutrition.
  • Healthier School Day. Students are getting healthier and more nutritious food in school. Thanks to the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act, improvements are being made across the country to transform school food and to promote better nutrition and reduce obesity. Use this link to access the School Day Just got Healthier Campaign.
  • Maine Harvest Lunch Week. Establishes contacts/relationships with Maine producers to promote local food use in schools, educate students and parents about Maine products.
  • Team Nutrition (TN). An initiative of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to support the Child Nutrition Programs through training and technical assistance for foodservice, nutrition education for children and their caregivers, and school and community support for healthy eating and physical activity.
  • Chefs Move to Schools. When students have opportunities to grow food and taste fresh fruits and vegetables, they are more likely to adopt life-long healthy habits. Chefs can play a major role in this process by providing hands-on taste testing to cooking demonstrations.