Santa Maria Sun / News
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 15
That's a tasty pic-a-nic basket!Community Corner 6/20/13
BY AMY ASMAN
On the menu for lunch June 14 at Santa Barbara County Foodbank’s Picnic in the Park kickoff event was a chicken sandwich with chips, a nectarine, carrots, and milk. When the Sun stopped by Veterans Memorial Park on Pine Street in Santa Maria, Foodbank staffers had already served more than 185 lunches to hungry local children. The summer-long program is designed to provide children ages 1 through 18 with at least one nutritious meal each weekday while they’re not in school.
According to Foodbank Community Programs Coordinator Eloisa Chavez, 84 percent of children in Santa Barbara County qualify for free or reduced-price lunches at their schools. The Picnic in Park program will fill that void while they’re not in school. Each picnic will also feature fun activities for children and their families, as well as opportunities to learn about nutrition and fitness.
On June 14, little ones were busy running an obstacle course created by Champions for Change, a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching people to eat more fruits and vegetables and to live healthier lifestyles. Some lucky boys and girls got to help make fruit smoothies by pedaling a bicycle-powered blender.
“It’s good for [children] to come here and play with other kids and to have healthy food,” said Mireya Meza, who brought her granddaughter to the park to play. “I didn’t know about this or else I would’ve brought her sooner.”
The program will run for 10 weeks, from the end of the school year through mid-August. Food is served where kids and families gather, at various parks countywide, Monday through Friday.
Families can find a Picnic in the Park location in their neighborhood at foodbanksbc.org/kidssummerlunch.html or by texting Food4Kids to 877-877.
Locations for North County include the Veterans Memorial Park, Grogan Park, Los Adobes De Maria I, Los Adobes De Maria II, Bethel Lutheran Church, Central Plaza Apartments, Rancho Hermosa Apartments, and Los Alamos County Park.
Managing Editor Amy Asman wrote this week’s Community Corner. Information should be sent to the Sun via mail, email, or fax.