National School Lunch Program

The National School Lunch Program is a federally-funded meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. It provides nutritionally balanced lunches to children each school day. Thanks to Maine’s School Meals for All law, school lunches are free for all students.

School Meal Benefit Form

Even though school meals are now free for all Maine students, families still need to fill out and return School Meal Benefit Forms. These forms are linked to important federal funding that supports school-wide enrichment programs, plus eligible students can qualify for extra grocery benefits for their family. Check out the toolkit below for marketing and promotional resources you can share with your school community.

Offer Versus Serve (OVS)

Learn about the OVS policy requirements for lunch and help students in building a reimbursable meal.

Meal Composition

Culturally Important Meals: Offering culturally important school meals ensures all students are included in school meal programs and celebrates the different food cultures of students, families, staff, and your broader community. Activities like offering samples, running taste tests, or partnering with local chefs or community organizations can be great ways to make sure that your menu reflects the students you’re serving. For inspiration, read about Portland Public Schools’ Culturally Important Menu Development project.

Local Food: The Local Foods Fund can be used to reimburse $1 for every $3 spent on local foods, with an annual cap of $5,000 per district. Maine Harvest of the Month and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program are additional resources that can help you bring more local food into your cafeteria.

Recipes: Check out The Lunch Box for recipes that are USDA-approved and easy to scale. For Maine-specific recipes, see the Maine Farm & Sea to School Seasonal Menus.

Social Media Graphics

Use the images below to promote school lunches, or simply share a photo of what you’re serving or the upcoming menu. Check out these tips for using social media!

Tip: Right-click an image and select “Save image as…” to save to your computer. On mobile, tap and hold the image and then “Save to Photos”

Additional Resources