Bath Middle School demonstrates local food focus during Maine School Meals Celebration Week

PHOTO: Lisa Campbell, Bath Middle School food service director, left, and state Sen. Eloise Vitelli, D-Arrowsic, serve lunch to Bath Middle School students on Nov. 18. Vitelli visited the school as part of School Meal Celebration Week. (Submitted photo)

BATH — Sen. Eloise Vitelli toured Bath Middle School on Nov. 18 for School Meals Celebration Week.
During her visit, Vitelli, D-Arrowsic, learned that Regional School Unit 1 is looking for more ways to connect with local farms and serve locally grown and produced food. Additionally, more students than ever are taking advantage of free school breakfast, ensuring they get a healthy start to the day and that busy families have one less thing to worry about in the morning.
“When kids have access to healthy, filling meals, they have the energy they need to learn, grow, play and reach their full potential. It was inspiring to visit Bath Middle School and see all the incredible work their staff put into meeting the nutritional needs of each student,” Vitelli said. “Thank you to all the staff, educators and students who welcomed me!”
Last year, the Maine Legislature funded an expansion of the state’s school meals program, to ensure all Maine public school students have access to free school meals, regardless of their family’s income. Maine is only the second state in the country to offer universal free school meals. Additionally, Vitelli sponsored and championed a bill to expand the Local Foods Fund, which provides reimbursements to help schools buy produce, dairy and protein from local growers and producers. The bill, now law, increased the cap on reimbursement from the Department of Education to encourage more local purchasing using existing funds. It would also expand the program to support the purchase of local foods including produce, meat, fish, tofu, eggs, and value-added dairy products like yogurt.