AUGUSTA – Following months and months of research, the end student hunger task force revealed its report on how lawmakers and those in the community plan to tackle this growing issue in the state of Maine.
The state of Maine ranks first in New England in terms of food insecurity and lawmakers want to make a change.
"I ask how can this be? We live in a state that has thriving farms, and robust fishing industries," Senator Justin Alfond, (D – Portland). "That doesn’t mean that even the kids who grow up in farms have enough food."
The goal is to end student hunger in five years, an ambitious yet attainable goal according to Alfond that he says can be achieved through three broad goals.
"One of our goals is to increase public awareness and it’s link to academic success," Alfond says.
The others include increased participation to support child nutrition programs and also partnering with food organizations in the community.
"This is not only a school or family problem," Alfond states. "It can’t be solved by just schools and families."
These goals go hand in hand with five programs proposed to help feed Maine’s students including school breakfast, lunch, after school, summer, and community provision meals.
"Our collective goal is for the state to take full advantage of these child nutrition programs and maximize the amount of federal nutrition dollars coming into the state to feed Maine children," Amy Gallant, coordinator for Preble Street Maine Hunger Initiative, says.
Gallant says there have been successes in schools across the state from these programs, but participation needs to happen on all levels of government.
Until then lawmakers will continue to push to receive funding to support these goals to end hunger for children in the state of Maine.