The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is hosting the children’s summer lunch program, Picnic in the Park, offering free healthy lunches for kids 18 and under through Aug. 13 in Santa Barbara and Goleta; through Aug. 6 in Santa Maria, Solvang and Guadalupe; through Aug. 20 in Carpinteria; and through July 30 in Los Alamos.
Due to COVID-19 safety recommendations, lunches will be offered grab and go-style for pickup and eating off-site.
“We’re excited to provide healthy lunches to children in need at even more locations than last year,” said Jacqueline Valencia, Foodbank assistant director, community programs and education. “Families with children have been hardest hit by the economic impact of the COVID crisis, so we’re seeing more kids than usual seeking lunches this year.”
Lunches are served on a first-come, first-served basis as part of the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program, and there are no income requirements to participate. All children under age 18, regardless of immigration status, are encouraged to attend.
Picnic in the Park locations in the south Santa Barbara County include:
- Casas de los Carneros, 11 a.m. to noon, 10 Longshore Place, Goleta.
- Central Library, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 40 E. Anapamu St., Santa Barbara.
- Canalino School, noon to 1 p.m., 1480 Linden Ave., Carpinteria.
- Carpinteria Middle School, 12:15 to 1:15 p.m., 5351 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria.
Picnic in the Park locations in North County include:
- Arrellanes Jr. High School, 11a.m. to noon, 1890 Sandalwood Dive., Santa Maria.
- Minami Park, 11a.m. to noon, 600 W. Enos Drive., Santa Maria.
- Santa Maria Boys & Girls Club, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 901 Railroad Ave., Santa Maria.
- Tunnell Park, 12 to 1 p.m., 1100 N. Palisade Drive., Santa Maria.
- Grogan Park, 12:15 to 1:15 p.m., 1155 W. Rancho Verde, Santa Maria.
- River View Townhomes, 11 a.m. to noon, 230 Calle Cesar E Chavez, Guadalupe.
- Los Alamos Park, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 500 Drum Canyon Road., Los Alamos.
- Solvang Elementary School, Noon to 1 p.m., 565 Atterdag Road, Solvang.
Information about all locations where children can receive free lunch this summer may be found by texting “SUMMERFOOD” to 877-877 and entering an address to find the nearest lunch locations.
Volunteers are needed to serve lunches, especially in Santa Maria and Guadalupe. Volunteers must be 14 or older and commit to either an entire week or one day weekly for two hours around noontime. Ideal site volunteers:
- Are able to commit, as an individual or organization, to at least one two-hour lunch shift per week or for a week of lunches at a time to provide continuity.
- Are available for approximately two hours, start to finish, during lunchtime on weekdays during the summer.
- Willing to undergo a brief criminal background check and able to complete an online training before their first shift.
To volunteer, go t foodbanksbc.org/give-help/volunteer.
The Foodbank is working for the second year with Revolution Foods to provide fresh, plant-rich, kid-friendly lunches prepared with fresh ingredients.
Lunches include whole fruits, veggies and milk daily.
Sample entrées include chicken pesto pasta salad, turkey wraps, Greek chicken flatbread and BBQ chicken and turkey sliders, and sunbutter and jelly sandwiches. Every lunch includes fresh vegetables like carrots and celery sticks, grape tomatoes, and seasonal fresh fruit like oranges, crisp apples and bananas, as well as milk.
Though group activities at the locations are prohibited for safety reasons, fun activity and nutrition education books are available to children who participate in Picnic in the Park.
For more information, visit www.foodbanksbc.org.