After its first three weeks this summer, The Idaho Foodbank’s Picnic in the Park program shows an increase of 866 meals or 4.8% over the same period last year.
The three-week total was 18,752 lunches compared to 17,866 at the same time last year.
The real need for Picnic in the Park can be seen at every one of the 24 sites around Boise.
“I’ve lived in this neighborhood all my life,” a grandmother with two children in tow told us at Winstead Park. “I can tell you that without this program a lot of these kids wouldn’t get lunch.”
At Cassia Park, a woman whose son uses a wheelchair pushes him to the park every day even though she has one leg in a brace. She told us she is on a budget so strict this was the only way he would get lunch.
“The yummy man’s here. The yummy man’s here.” We hear this every day from a young boy with a big grin – and two missing teeth – at the Northwest Pointe Apartments as he runs up to get his lunch.
The goal this year is to serve 56,000 – 60,000 free meals to these children and many more like them. The program is open to anyone under the age of 18.
Redwood Park is the most popular Picnic location so far this summer with 2,386 lunches served in the first three weeks. Winstead Park is second with 2,092 lunches, and Ivywild is third with 1,917 lunches. The busiest day so far this year was Tuesday, June 18, with 1,412 total lunches served.
Picnic in the Park will continue through August 16, except July 4. All children ages 1-18 are welcome. There is no paperwork to complete. Parents are welcome to purchase lunch for a low price.
Valuable support for this program comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Idaho State Department of Education, AmeriCorps VISTA Program and some generous private funders.
For more information, including a complete list of Picnic in the Park sites, Boise School District sites and all summer lunch programs statewide www.idahofoodbank.org.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.