As summer winds down – school starts on the South Coast next week – the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County wraps up its “Picnic in the Park” program, which has served more than 1,400 summertime lunches to kids, teens, and some adults.
A stop on Friday afternoon at the Central Library’s Faulkner Gallery found ham, cheese, and veggie sandwiches, chips, apples, and milk being served to a variety of eaters and players. Parents fed children, children played games, a few older siblings were there with their kid brother or sister, all having a free lunch together.
Volunteers Iris Chen, a third-year student at UCSB, and Paige Kieding, a junior high schooler, were there to give away the lunches to anyone 18 years old or younger in the weekday program. “We’ve given out as many as 65 lunches a day at some places,” Chen said, who also described how teens looking after their little brothers and sisters liked coming in for lunch once they found the program.
“The school lunch program is offered during the year,” she continued, “and this helps make sure they eat lunch for the summer.” When it nears time to close shop, she said, adults may purchase any lunches left for $4.
“Picnic in the Park” continues through August 19 at the following locations and times: In Carpinteria at Memorial Park, 1550 Santa Ynez Avenue, noon-1 p.m., and Casa de las Flores, 4096 Via Real, 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. In Santa Barbara, at the Central Library, 40 East Anapamu Street, and St. Vincent’s Gardens, 4235 Pozzo Circle, both noon-1 p.m. In Goleta, Storke Ranch Apartments, 6822 Phelps Road, 12:30-1:30 p.m. In Isla Vista, Estero Park, I.V. Teen Center, 889 Camino Del Sur, 1-2 p.m.
The downtown library plans to close the program on the 19th with a special hour of crafts, games, and even bicycle-powered smoothies. For more information, including North County locations, see foodbanksbc.org/programs/picnic-in-the-park/ and sbplibrary.org.