Foodbank of Santa Barbara County raised $75,000 during “End Summer Hunger,” its month-long campaign to raise $50,000 to help feed the most at-risk school-age children during the summer months.
Thanks to a generous anonymous pledge, the community responded and the campaign surpassed its goal by $25,000.
Campaign funding will support the Foodbank’s county-wide Picnic in the Park program, which provides free, healthy lunches to ensure that all children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session.
There are no income requirements and any child 18 and under is welcome to receive lunch. Picnic in the Park to date for summer 2015 has served 23,000 lunches and will continue until the end of August.
For many children who receive free and reduced-priced meals at school, summer can mean hunger. The “End Summer Hunger” campaign, which ran June 1–30, is crucial in both closing the summer hunger gap in Santa Barbara County and promoting wellness and healthy eating during summer months.
“When school lets out for the summer, children still have a need for good nutrition,” said Erik Talkin, CEO of Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. “In fact, only 16 percent of children in our County, who receive free or reduced-priced lunches during the school year receive any meal assistance during the summer.”
Children comprise 35 percent of the people the Foodbank serves. In our County, 34,000 children who receive free or reduced-priced lunches during the school year don’t receive any meal assistance during the summer, a time of critical brain development.
To support these children, the Picnic in the Park program provides over 35,000 nutritious meals for 2,500 local low-income children during the summer (over 900 meals per day throughout Santa Barbara County).
On a typical day, Picnic in the Park serves children from many diverse backgrounds including five-year-old David, who loves spiderman and comes to have lunch with his babysitter, Carmela, who takes care of more than six kids everyday from different working families.
And Maria, a soon-to-be fifth grader, says her favorite part of Picnic in the Park is playing with her friends—she also loves when the lunches include Goldfish crackers.
End Summer Hunger leadership-level sponsors include: Aera Energy and Santa Barbara Women Lawyers’ Food from the Bar Drive, as well as generous support from Citrix, Chevron, Hazelwood Allied Moving and Storage, Mentor, Oniracom, Sodexo, KCRW, Subway, Vita Travel Store and FLIR Systems.