I am writing in support of L.D. 1679, extending school breakfast and lunch to all Maine students. The most important reason to offer these meals to all pupils is that, shockingly, children and adolescents of all income levels are not getting the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables daily. During the pandemic, there has been an increase in junk food consumption through all socioeconomic levels.

Providing school meals directly helps the child; the parents, who are rushing to work; school staff, who do not have to waste valuable time administering the program, and local farmers, who supply apples, blueberries, potatoes, meat, dairy and seafood products.

Parents still have the option of making a lunch for their child. Unfortunately, a bag lunch is often left behind in cars or buses or smashed at the bottom of a backpack. If this occurs, a healthy meal is available at school, and the parent does not need to be late for work.

Taxpayers pay for books, computers, buses and sports; a healthy meal is the first priority for school success. And no, I don’t care if a child of a well-paid executive gets a meal. Having a high income does not equate to having adequate culinary skills to make nutritious, well-balanced meals for their children.

This helps children of our community, regardless of political affiliation and income level. Passing L.D. 1679 will make it easier for parents to get back to work and the economy to move forward.

Anna Stankiewicz

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