WILKES-BARRE —The Wilkes-Barre YMCA, in partnership with the city of Wilkes-Barre, the Wilkes-Barre City Health Department and the Commission on Economic Opportunity, will offer its free Food-n-Fun @ the Park Program for the third year so fewer kids and teens go hungry this summer.
More than 64 percent of children in the Wilkes-Barre area receive free or reduced-cost meals during the school year. And when school ends for the summer, so do free meals, leaving many kids at risk of hunger and malnutrition.
The Food-n-Fun @ the Park program offers participating kids and teenagers, from kindergarten to 12th grade, a free lunch and snacks, weekly guest programs and supervised fun play each day. By combining food and fun, kids and teenagers will stay nourished and active while easing the strain on family food budgets.
The program will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday from today to Aug. 16 in four city parks and the Wilkes-Barre YMCA.There will be no program on July 4.
“They are staying active and meeting new people,” Carol Hussa of the Wilkes-Barre YMCA said.
This year’s program is part of a national partnership between YMCA of the USA and the Walmart Foundation. Last summer, the program served 846 kids and more than 8,500 meals, and the YMCA expects the same turnout this year.
Each snack and lunch complies with the federal Summer Food Service Program nutrition guidelines and the YMCA’s National Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Standards for Early Childhood and After-school programs. The SFSP is a federal program that was established to ensure low-income children get nutritious meals when school is not in session.
“CEO has a lot of experience providing lunches that are healthy and yummy for the kids,” Hussa said.
Lunches, programs and activities will be offered at the following parks and the Wilkes-Barre YMCA:
• Coal Street Park: Coal and North Sherman streets.
• Iron Triangle Playground: Corner of Hickory and Metcalf streets.
• Madison/Flood Park: Corner of East Maple and North Washington sreets.
• Parsons Playground: 1100 block of Scott Street, behind Turkey Hill.
• Wilkes-Barre YMCA: 40 W. Northampton St.. Note: Space is limited to 50 children.
Other locations will offer only snacks or lunch:
• Osterhout Plains Branch — Tuesday and Thursday, snack at 2 p.m.
• Osterhout North Branch — Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, lunch at 11 a.m.
• Osterhout South Branch — Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, snack at 3 p.m.
•Mineral Springs Village — Monday-Friday, lunch at 12:30 p.m.
• Boulevard Town Homes — Monday-Friday, lunch at noon.
• Kistler Pool — Monday-Friday, lunch at noon.
• Albright UM Church — Monday-Friday, lunch at 11:30 a.m.
• Huber (Mayflower) Park — Monday-Friday, lunch at noon.
In addition to Wilkes-Barre, the Commission on Economic Opportunity operates in other locations around Luzerne County. To see a complete list, visit www.ceopeoplehelpingpeople.org.