The Maine Department of Educations ask parents whose children are enrolling for free meals to fill out free meal benefit application forms with their school.

Although all students in Maine public schools qualify for free meals, thanks to the state Legislature, filling out the forms, which are confidential, still fills a variety of purposes, according to the DOE.

• Family income data informs federal school funding

• If everyone participates it ends the stigma of receiving free meals

• It helps direct other vital benefits to families in need

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