Young girls in a community park smile with picnic lunch

Picnic in the Park Brings Free Meals to Kids Across Santa Barbara


The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County aims to transform the health of Santa Barbarans through good nutrition. Together, with their 300 nonprofit partners, they provide access, education, and empowerment to help people take control of their food choices.

Since 2017, the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation has partnered with the Foodbank to support their Kid’s Farmer’s Market and Healthy School Pantry programs, which reduce food insecurity in high-poverty areas of the county.

With the development of COVID-19, the Foodbank postponed these programs to focus instead on the greater community need. By launching the SAFE (Safe Access to Food for Everyone) Food Net program this spring, more than 7.6 million pounds of produce and groceries have been distributed to 177,000 people across Santa Barbara.

To further support its school children this summer, the Foodbank hosted “Picnic in the Park,” offering healthy lunches for kids every weekday from early June through mid-August. By texting “SUMMERFOOD” to 877-877 or downloading the CA Meals for Kids app, parents could find one of the thirty distribution sites located at schools, libraries, and community centers across the county. The Foodbank also promoted their digital Picnic in the Park Activity Book loaded with fun games and activities about nutrition.

Thanks to this program, thousands of children received healthy meals this summer and are starting school on the right foot. The Foodbank’s hard work is far from over though with many Santa Barbarans’ still needing assistance at this time. With a vast network of partners and dedicated staff and volunteers, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is eager to continue serving the community, making sure everyone has the healthy food they need to thrive.

Drive through food distribution in Santa Barbara County
Drive-thru distribution site hosted by the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

Volunteers pack bags of groceries and produce for emergency food distribution.
Masked volunteers pack bags of groceries and fresh produce.