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Foodbank of Santa Barbara County Nourishes Bellies and Brains with Picnics in the Park

Learning about healthy food choices an added benefit of program for children in need of meal assistance

Kids of all ages ran around Mathilda Park in Goleta on Friday, while enjoying a complimentary lunch and games developed to educate them on healthy food choices. The occasion was the kickoff launch of the third annual Foodbank of Santa Barbara County’s Picnic in the Park summer food program.

The Picnic in the Park program runs for 10 weeks and allows families to gather weekdays through Aug. 23 for free lunches and other activities.

“Statistics currently say that 25,000 kids receive three reduced lunches in our county every day,” said Kyli Gallington, the Foodbank’s community programs manager. “Eighty-four percent of those don’t receive any sort of meal assistance over the summer, so this program really tries to resolve that issue.

“It’s providing lunches to kids every day when they can’t get them at school.”

Brendan Seidel, 9, and his brother Ian Baker, 13, were sitting on a bench enjoying sandwiches and fruit while explaining what they had learned about compost and germination.

“All of it has been super fun,” Ian replied when asked about his favorite moment of the day.

“A bunch of fun,” his brother added excitedly.

The program is sponsored by Chevron, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Santa Barbara Women Lawyers, Smart & Final and Whole Foods Market, to name a few.

Brothers Ian Baker, right, and Brendan Seidel learned about compost, germination and food literacy during Friday's Picnic in the Park. And they chowed down on a healthy lunch. (Linda Sturesson / Noozhawk photo)
Brothers Ian Baker, right, and Brendan Seidel learned about compost, germination and food literacy during Friday’s Picnic in the Park. And they chowed down on a healthy lunch. (Linda Sturesson / Noozhawk photo)

“We’re here today to just help get it started and we’re really happy that the legal community is coming together to support the program,” said Jennifer Smith, a legal aid attorney and board member of Santa Barbara Women Lawyers. “The Foodbank does excellent work. It’s a real service to the community.”

Picnic in the Park welcomes any child under the age of 18 to participate in food literacy classes, try a physical activity and receive a free healthy lunch.

Click here to find a Picnic in the Park location, call 805.967.5741x108 or text Food4Kids to 877.877.

Click here for more information about the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. Click here to learn how you can help support Foodbank programs.

Noozhawk intern Linda Sturesson can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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