Oakhurst Dairy is donating $300,000 to launch an after-school meal program for up to 200 schools.

The dairy – partnering with the Full Plates Full Potential nonprofit – announced the initiative at Westbrook Middle School on Friday, with Gov. Janet Mills attending. An estimated 80,000 schoolchildren in Maine qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

“Many kids leave school with lunch being their last meal of the day and that’s simply not okay,” said John Bennett, president of Oakhurst Dairy, in a statement. “At Oakhurst, we want every kid to have access to the nutrition they need so they can grow, learn, and ultimately reach their full potential.”

Mills said in a statement that so many students “don’t have access to nutritional meals outside of school. That’s unacceptable.”

She said the new program “will provide nutritious meals outside of school to thousands more children across Maine, helping them to live healthier lives and positioning them for greater success.”

Full Plates Full Potential is a Portland nonprofit that aims to reduce childhood hunger, and it has previously given 164 grants totaling $320,000 to schools.

The $300,000 from Oakhurst Dairy will be given over the next three years. Schools interested in applying for the program can go to www.oakhurstgives.com


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