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Picnic in the Park: Monday’s event at Paul Sanborn Park kicks off summer feeding program

By Staff | May 30, 2019

Lee County children who may not have access to a meal every day can eat free at a local park or school this summer.

The School District of Lee County Food & Nutrition Services, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Cape Coral Park & Recreation, is hosting “Picnic in the Park,” a kickoff to its summer feeding event that stretches to more than 100 locations throughout the county during the summer months.

The program will provide children under 18 with a nutritious lunch each weekday from June 3 to July 26 (except July 4). The kickoff starts June 3 at Paul Sanborn Park in Cape Coral from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“This program is important because our goal is to always feed as many students as we can, especially when they can’t for themselves,” said Lee County Food & Nutrition Services spokesperson Breanna Gustafson. “Last year we had a great turnout and it was a good opportunity to educate students and parents on the resources available to them when school is out.”

Lunches provided will be similar to what children are used to at school, said Gustafson, including turkey and cheese wedges, fruit cups, milk, hamburgers, slushies and lots more.

“Always with a fruit or vegetable,” said Gustafson.

The Cape Coral Fun-Mobile will be there to provide some entertainment for youth, including organized activities such as sports and art projects.

“Kickoff events give us the opportunity to promote awareness of the Summer Meals Program, said Lorina Woods, School District of Lee County Summer Meals Program coordinator, in a statement. “In addition to community sites, we partner with youth organizations to provide meals at sites throughout the District. It creates a sense of community.”

Throughout the summer, these numerous locations will provide either an “a.m. snack,” “lunch” or “p.m. snack” free to any youth of age. There is no requirement or registration other than age.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Lee County Food & Nutrition Services to host the USDA Summer Feeding Program at Paul Sanborn Park this summer,” said Kerry Runyon, Cape Coral Parks & Recreation director. “After children enjoy a free nutritious lunch, we believe the activities offered by the Cape Coral Fun-Mobile will serve as a nice supplement to encourage outdoor play.”

Parents and guardians can stay up to date on details and locations offering the Summer Lunch Program by texting “FoodFL” to 877-877, by dialing 2-1-1 or by searching a location on www.SummerBreakSpot.org.

On the website, simply enter your address into the search bar and find what’s closest to you.

Each location has a break down of what times, dates and meals are being served. Times meals are served varies, so be sure to check the specifics of your intended location.

“Last year was a lot of fun, we felt a great sense of community,” said Gustafson.

Paul Sanborn Park is at 2310 Southeast 3rd St. in Cape Coral.