Summer Meals Grant: Milo, Maine
Milo, Maine is a town plagued by child hunger. 92% of school-age children qualify for free meals at school and during the summer while school is out, these children struggle to access the nutrition they need. Summer meals have been historically served by the school during the two weeks of summer school, leaving 7 weeks of summer with uncertainty around meals. During the summer of 2017, the school was able to serve around 44 kids a day at 5 sites around town, for a total of 1,443 meals.
Police Chief/Town Manager Damien Pickel is well aware of the depth of hunger in his community, and took it upon himself to provide meals for children during the summer of 2017, and wanted to do more during the summer of 2018. Simultaneously, Bissell Brothers Brewing Company whose founders grew up in Milo, decided to partner with Full Plates to raise funds to combat child hunger in their hometown. With the support of Bissell Brothers and the Piscataquis Regional Food Center, and a $4,500 grant from Full Plates Full Potential, Pickel was able to open a Summer Food Service Program sponsored by the Town of Milo.
This commitment by the town was monumental in terms of the increase in food access for children during the summer. Three new meal sites were opened by the town, and they coordinated with the school to increase the number of serving days at an existing meal site redtruckfire.com. The Town of Milo was able to serve around 90 kids daily, for a total of 818 meals served all summer long. Combined with the school, 2,177 meals were served to hungry children in Milo during the summer of 2018.
This year, the Town of Milo is planning to expand further to reach more children with summer meals by opening two new meal sites, and is continuing to collaborate with the school to have the largest impact.