Without the access to free and reduced school lunches, summer is the hungriest time of year for many children. The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County set out to end this with its monthlong campaign, End Summer Hunger. The goal was to raise $50,000 to go towards the Picnic in the Park Program, a country-wide program that provides children under 18 with free, nutritious meals when school is not in session, regardless of their parents’ income. Thanks to a generous anonymous pledge, Picnic in the Park surpassed its goal by $25,000, raising a grand total of $75,000.

Picnic in the Park was a huge success this summer, providing 23,000 lunches so far, and continuing to do so through the end of August. “When school lets out for the summer, children still have a need for good nutrition,” says Erik Talkin, CEO of Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. “In fact, only 16% of children in our county, who receive free or reduced-priced lunches during the school year, receive any meal assistance during the summer.”

To donate and get involved, visit the End Summer Hunger website or to find locations where lunches will be served text SUMMERFOOD to 877-877. For more information, visit the Santa Barbara County Foodbank website.

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