As schools across Maine prepare for the 2021/2022 school year with many changes, including the implementation of free school meals and the challenges of COVID-19, we are aware of the increasing difficulty you face with asking families to fill out the Meal Benefit Application.
Families, schools, communities, and our state can greatly benefit from the data that is gathered from the application, which includes key funding for school resources and additional resources for families in need.
The Maine Department of Education (DOE) has created a Meal Benefit Application Toolkit for schools/districts to help inform and promote the application within your school community:
We hope that having these resources laid out in this toolkit can ease some of the burden to create your own promotional and informational materials. Here are some of the resources you will find in the toolkit:
• Social Media Graphics – short informational graphics that can be shared on your district/school social media platforms.
• Translated Informational Materials - a one-page info sheet that can be printed and distributed to families (translated versions available), info for teachers and school staff, and a letter to families expressing the importance of the Meal Benefit Application.
• Meal Benefit Application Form Options – links to the original printable application, an online option, and an alternative sample form that can be used to help inform state subsidy calculations.
We recognize and appreciate all your hard work as you prepare for the start of the school year. Please contact Maine DOE for questions and/or additional resources:
• If there is a specific additional resource you’d like to see in this toolkit, please contact Caroline Bennett (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Rachel Paling (email@example.com).
• For questions regarding application collection and SSO (Seamless Summer Option), please contact David Hartley (firstname.lastname@example.org).
To add your district to the web-based application via Nutrilink (we HIGHLY recommend this to increase accessibility of application), please contact Sarah Platt (email@example.com).