Foodbank Hosts Picnic in the Park, Offering Free Healthy Lunches for Kids Countywide

By the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is hosting the children’s End Summer Hunger program Picnic in the Park (PIP) – which provides free, healthy lunches for kids (18 and under) – at 12 locations countywide. PIP will operate weekdays from June 12 to August 4 in Guadalupe, Los Alamos and Santa Maria; June 12 to August 18 in Goleta and Santa Barbara; and June 12 to August 11 in Santa Ynez.

This summer, all Picnic in the Park locations (except Los Alamos and Santa Ynez) will offer lunch on-site at parks, libraries, apartment complexes and community centers, where kids can enjoy lunch and participate in fun and educational activities and games. Our locations at Creekside Apartments (in Los Alamos) and Santa Ynez Elementary School will feature grab-and-go lunches, where children can stop by and pick up meals to take home.

Picnic in the Park locations in south Santa Barbara County include:

  • Goleta Valley Community Center: 5679 Hollister Avenue, Goleta (11:15am–12:15pm, June 12–Aug 18)
  • Casa De La Raza: 602 E. Montecito Street, Santa Barbara (12:30–1:30pm, June 12–Aug 18)
  • Santa Barbara Public Library (Tuesday – Friday ONLY): 40 E. Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara (11:30am–12:30pm, June 12–Aug 18)


Picnic in the Park locations in north Santa Barbara County include:

  • Guadalupe Court Apartments: 4206 11th Street, Guadalupe (11am–12pm, June 12–Aug 4)
  • Creekside Apartments: 260 Gonzales Drive, Los Alamos (11am–12pm, June 12–Aug 4)
  • Central Plaza Apartments (Monday – Thursday ONLY): 200 N. McClelland Street, Santa Maria (12–1pm, June 12–Aug 4)
  • Evans Park (Monday – Thursday ONLY): 200 W. Williams Street, Santa Maria (11:30am–12:30pm, June 12–Aug 4)
  • Grogan Park: 1155 W. Rancho Verde, Santa Maria (11:30am–12:30pm, June 12–Aug 4)
  • Minami Park: 600 W. Enos Drive, Santa Maria (12–1pm, June 12–Aug 4)
  • Santa Maria Boys & Girls Club: 901 N. Railroad Avenue, (11:45am–12:45pm, June 12–Aug 4)
  • Tunnell Park: 1100 N. Palisade Drive, Santa Maria (11am–12pm, June 12–Aug 4)
  • Santa Ynez Elementary School: 3325 Pine Street, Santa Ynez (11:30am–12:30pm, June 12–Aug 11)


“We’re excited to provide healthy lunches to children in need throughout the county,” explained Jacqueline Valencia, Foodbank Director of Community Programs and Education. “The Foodbank works closely with school districts to ensure that healthy lunches are readily available to all children in all neighborhoods of Santa Barbara County.”      

The Foodbank expects to serve lunch to nearly 900 children each day and to distribute more than 35,000 meals this summer. This is a 25% increase over last year.

Lunches are served on a first-come, first-served basis as part of the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program. There are no income requirements to participate. All children under the age of 18, regardless of immigration status, are encouraged to attend.

This summer, the Foodbank is working with Unity Meals to provide plant-rich, kid-friendly lunches prepared with fresh ingredients. Lunches will include fresh fruits, veggies and a choice of milk daily.

In addition to healthy lunches free of charge, the Foodbank supports children’s health at Picnic in the Park more broadly by providing nutrition education, including a Foodbank original “FoodBoss” curriculum activity book for every child and sensory, hands-on games including “Fishing for Fiber,” a board game and more.

Every summer, the Foodbank sees an increase in the number of people needing food assistance. Hardworking families must stretch their budgets even further in the summer months to cover additional expenses like childcare and the gap left by the lack of school lunches. This year, with the expiration of CalFresh Emergency Allotments, the end of Pandemic EBT, inflated grocery prices and lost wages (due to the storms), the need will be unprecedented.

Community members who wish to provide meals to children facing hunger during the summer may donate at

Community members interested in volunteering for Picnic in the Park may inquire by email at to receive more information.

The Foodbank thanks the following partners for collaborating to make Picnic in the Park possible: City of Santa Maria Recreation & Parks Department, City of Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Library, Goleta Valley Community Center, Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara, Boys & Girls Clubs of Mid Central Coast and Unity Meals.

About the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is transforming health by eliminating hunger and food insecurity through good nutrition and food literacy. The Foodbank provides nourishment and education through a network of more than 200 partner agencies, nutrition education programs and food distribution sites operated by the Foodbank and its volunteers. In Santa Barbara County, one in four people receive support from the Foodbank – 38% of the people we serve are children. 

For more information, visit


Written by FoodbankSBC

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