Cathy Roy and Faith Owen review allergies of specific children while putting together lunches at the Thomas J. McMahon Elementary School in Lewiston. The Lewiston district, like many across Maine, offers free breakfast and lunch to all students, and sends food home so no one goes hungry. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Editor’s Note: This report is part of a continuing series on poverty in Maine, and the strangling affect poverty has on our communities. The work is being done in cooperation with the Investigative Editing Corps.

LEWISTON — Christal Smith’s two oldest kids have always struggled in school. When COVID-19 shut down in-person classes at their Lewiston elementary school last spring, their learning all but stopped.

“There was no

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