Lunch in the Park – a hit with the kids!

By Desiree Fawn- KMTV

HAILEY, Idaho ( KMVT / KSVT ) – A growing number of children in Blaine County are counting on a free “Lunch in the Park” during summer break.
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Lunch in the Park is a Federal program that is served locally through a partnership between The Hunger Coalition and the Blaine County School District.

Every Monday through Friday from noon to 1pm throughout the summer, kids flock to Balmoral Park in Woodside for a free healthy lunch and some socializing.

“42% of kids in Blaine County are on free and reduced lunch during the school year. And so, during the summer a lot of those guaranteed meals kind of go away. And so the idea is for us to provide food for those kids through the duration of the summer,” said Rachel Shinn, Volunteer Program Manager at The Hunger Coalition.

The Hunger Coalition said last year the program fed over 4500 meals to 350 kids.

This week marks the beginning of this year’s program. On Thursday, the program fed 73 children.

“It’s definitely gained every year. Gained popularity with the kids I guess and a lot more people trust the access. This program would not be successful without all of our amazing stellar volunteers that come out and just engage the kids and make sure the program runs really smoothly,” said Shinn.

You get to know the kids a little better, I’ve been doing this now, this is my second year and I’m trying to remember names, doing a pretty good job of it. It’s relaxed and it’s fun. We try to make it such that we’re here for them but we also like to see them enjoying themselves,” said Jane Oliver, volunteer.

Anyone ages 0 – 18 is welcome and adults arriving with children can purchase lunch at a reduced cost.

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Summer Food Program Starts June 15

IMG_0736Keep your kids happy and healthy this year with a free sack lunches in Hailey!

Thanks to The Hunger Coalition, Blaine County School District and community volunteers, Lunch in the Park offers free sack lunches to kids 18 and under throughout the summer. Beginning Monday, June 15, free sack lunches are available weekdays from 11am – 12 noon through August 21 at the Balmoral play field in Hailey. Parents or guardians can purchase a lunch for $1.

“When school is out for summer, many kids loose the one meal they count on—school lunch,” said Naomi Spence, Associate Director. “Lunch in the Park is a great way for kids to come together, get a free, healthy sack lunch, play in the park and enjoy summer,” added Spence.

Free activities will be held weekly from organizations like the Hailey Public Library, Bellevue Public Library, Environmental Resource Center, 4-H, The Community Library and more!

With more than 450 children living in poverty in Blaine County, and hundreds of local families struggling to make ends meet, Lunch in the Park ensures our children have access to the nutrition they need. With the help of the Blaine County School District, volunteers and staff, free sack lunches are provided for local children experiencing hunger or family crisis.

The Hunger Coalition strives to end hunger in our community by providing wholesome food to those in need and by promoting solutions to the underlying causes of hunger through collaboration, education and advocacy. For more information, visit www.thehungercoalition.org.