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As a Maine parent with two kids attending public school and a third almost ready to get started, I am so relieved that the State of Maine is offering free meals for all students.

There were some years when we filled out the beginning of the year forms crossing our fingers that our kids would be able to get free or reduced lunches.

Maine will now offer students free meals

Now with the new opportunity for free student meals on the horizon, we Maine families may think that those beginning of the year school meal forms aren't necessary but, this is incorrect.

We are still being encouraged to fill out these forms. Why? Because not filling out these forms could result in our children's schools losing funding.

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Why do we still have to fill out these meal forms?

The forms we fill out give the Maine Department of Education insight into what each schools' needs are for the students that attend. With that, funding becomes allocated to schools from state and federal sources. This money goes towards before and after school programs, special education, other opportunities to fund the schools, and even helping our beloved teachers with the student loan debt they've accumulated to dedicate their time, minds, knowledge, and care to our children.

The Maine Department of Education sent out awareness information for us parents that we will still need to fill out these forms or our schools will lose money. Part of the reason this information is being sent out is also that there were a lot fewer families who submitted last years' forms. You can imagine that there are probably many reasons for that but, nonetheless, we don't want our schools here in Maine or our local communities to lose money.

Look out for the meal forms when school starts or fill it out online now

So, once the kids start school, be on the lookout for that form. It'll help your family, neighbors, community, and the future of Maine. If you want to do it now, head over to this website to fill out an online application now and it counts for all the kids in the household.

For more information, see the information sent out by the Maine Department of Education this week on the reminder to fill out these yearly forms.

But, school isn't happening quite yet so, get out with the littles and have some fun before their summer vacation gets over with! Here are ways to get out and have fun with the kids this summer in our home state!

11 Activities in Maine Your Kids Will Actually Want to Do This Summer

Kids enjoy a lot of things but for summertime fun, it all comes down to 5 groups; amusement/water parks, animals, sports, learning, and the beautiful outdoors. If you're looking for some serious family fun this summer, start checking these off your bucket list.

Maine's 16 Counties Ranked By How Much Money People Make

Here's the list of every county in Maine ranked by median household income from lowest to highest.

LOOK: Here are 25 ways you could start saving money today

These money-saving tips—from finding discounts to simple changes to your daily habits—can come in handy whether you have a specific savings goal, want to stash away cash for retirement, or just want to pinch pennies. It’s never too late to be more financially savvy. Read on to learn more about how you can start saving now. [From: 25 ways you could be saving money today]