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Million-dollar donation to help Maine's food-insecure children

Hannaford announced a $1 million donation to 'Fuel Kids at School' program Wednesday

SCARBOROUGH, Maine — A $1 million donation will help Maine children have access to fresh, healthy meals and food pantries across dozens of schools. Maine-based Hannaford made the announcement Wednesday at its Scarborough headquarters.

The 'Fuel Kids at School' program is aiming to establish food pantries in 90 schools across the grocery chain's service area. 

Thirty preschools in Maine will be selected and will give children access to nutritious food during and after the school day. The initiative will also build food pantries in 33 New York and 12 New Hampshire in high schools. Massachusetts and Vermont will see 12.

"That's pretty exciting for us," said Hannaford President and CEO Mike Vail. "We'll be building out some food pantries in schools, we'll be working with organizations that will provide the food and also helping these organizations that lead these pantries and soup kitchens to work their way in being self-sufficient."

Organizations such as Good Shepherd Food Bank. Executive Director Kristen Maile was on hand to describe the partnership and what this pledge means for Maine and the northeast.

"The school pantry model is designed to be flexible to met the needs of each unique community," said Maile. "The correlation between access to nutritious food and early childhood development, and learning makes these locations an ideal match for the next phase of our school-based programming.”

The two-year program begins in early 2020.

RELATED: Putting a face on food insecurity in Maine, amid proposed federal changes to SNAP

RELATED: 'Hannaford helps schools' provides educators additional support

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