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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins met with members of the Maine School Nutrition Association to discuss the continued impact of COVID-19 on school nutrition programs.
Those who were in attendance included: Jeanne Riley, School Nutrition Director RSU #14; Alisa Roman, School Nutrition Director, Lewiston Public Schools; Mary Emerson, School Nutrition Director, Westbrook School Department; Tina Fabian, School Nutrition Director, RSU #3; Whitney Thornton, York School Department; and Ellen Dore, School Nutrition Director, RSU #16.
“School meals play a vital role in the lives of our young people, with more than 82,000 Maine children relying on free and reduced-price lunches annually. Particularly amid COVID-19, dedicated Mainers have stepped up to continue providing these children with nutritious food,” said Senator Collins. “I met with members of the Maine School Nutrition Association to discuss the importance of this program to help prevent hunger and allow Maine students to focus on their studies.”
Senator Collins strongly pushed to expand access to school meals during the pandemic. Following her efforts last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced its decision to extend child nutrition program flexibilities, including access to free meals, regardless of whether in-school learning is available. Last month, USDA announced these flexibilities will continue through summer 2021.
Senator Collins recently introduced the School Food Modernization Act, bipartisan legislation to help schools improve their kitchen facilities and enhance workforce training to provide healthier meals to students.