PORTLAND — Full Plates Full Potential, the Maine-based nonprofit working to end child hunger statewide, announced the opening of their Winter School Meals Fund. Grants will focus on providing funding for resources associated with alternative service models with the goal of increasing access to school meals for children during the COVID-19 pandemic.  This includes funding initiatives focused on transporting and delivering school meals to children at home, in classrooms, and at meal pickup sites.  Priority will be given to projects targeting delivery to students at home and outside of school. The Full Plates Winter School Meals Fund will grant $350,000 through the incredible support of donations of corporations, foundations and from the public. 

COVID-19 has put enormous strains on public schools and community organizations operating child nutrition meal programs. The current spike in COVID cases has forced many school districts to temporarily shut down in-person learning and institute hybrid learning schedules. 

“We have been communicating with our school partners and funders since late fall about the access challenges kids learning from home are having,” said Anna Korsen, Full Plates Full Potential’s director of advocacy and community partnerships. “The Winter School Meal Fund will give critical grants to schools and community organizations so that they can creatively and safely transport breakfast and lunch meals to kids relying on them.”

To learn more about the Full Plates Full Potential 2021 Winter School Meal Fund or to apply for funding go to https://www.fullplates.org/grants/2021-winter-school-meals-fund/. Awards of up to $5,000 will be given to schools or community organizations operating federally funded Child Nutrition Programs. The deadline for applications is January 29th, with priority given to schools and community organizations that apply by January 20th.  Grants will help pay for transportation costs and safe packaging for breakfast and lunch meals.

“School Nutrition Directors and their staff know the urgency and need in their communities for school meals,” said Justin Alfond, director at Full Plates Full Potential. “Our partners are ready to increase access to critical school meals and Full Plates is excited to help.”