State lawmakers introduce four bills to help with child food insecurity

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - One in five kids in maine children struggle with food insecurity.

State lawmakers looked at a handful of bills Friday addressing that problem.

For many children school is the only place they get healthy meals.

The bills focus on ways to let kids get more food through their schools.

One bill, sponsored by Rep. Michael Brennan, D-Portland, would require schools with more than half of their students on free or reduced-price lunch to have an after school meal program.

"I hope by doing these different programs that it will simultaneously provide nutritious food but it will also improve academic performance and it will allow children to really prosper in school and at home," said Brennan.

Another bill, sponsored by Sen. Stacey Guerin, R-Glenburn, would let students give unopened food and drinks to a "Food Sharing Table," for distribution to kids in need.

"I think any time we can get food in the hands of hungry children, it's a wonderful thing, and this is a way to do it for free," said Guerin. "We don't want to waste food. Let's teach our children to use the resources they have and not waste food, and this is just a win-win for everyone."

The Education Committee is looking at a number of other food security bills this session as well.