RSU 26 Food Service Director Ben Jacobson serves Orono High School students lunch, Oct. 22, 2021. Credit: Sawyer Loftus / BDN

PORTLAND, Maine  — Maine will receive more than $5.5 million from the federal government to support its school meal programs.

The Maine Department of Education will receive the money, Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree said. Nearly $4 million will be supply chain assistance for schools, while the rest of the money will help food purchases, including from local producers, she said.

Pingree said allowing schools to purchase food produced locally will be “a true win-win for child nutrition and Maine farmers.”

The school meal assistance is especially important because of disruptions to the supply chain during the coronavirus pandemic, Pingree said.