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Summer Success Picnic a Success

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Summer Success Picnic a Success
Posted on 07/09/2015
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Portland Mayor Michael Brennan told Portland youngsters gathered for the Summer Success Picnic in Deering Oaks Park on Thursday, July 9, “We want to make sure that you eat healthy over the summer and continue to learn.”

Then he and Jeanne Crocker, the Portland Public Schools director of school management, who will be the district’s interim superintendent on Aug. 1, led the children in saying the “Portland Pledge for Summer Success.” Among the promises kids make in the pledge are eating healthy foods, reading and using their library card.

The free picnic – and the pledge – are part of Portland’s new Feeding Bodies & Minds collaborative project. The picnic celebrated the power of combining summer meals and summer learning for kids.

Special guests at the picnic included the Circus Conservatory of America, the University of Maine 4-H Summer of Science Team, Slugger the Sea Dog, the Portland Public Library Bookmobile, the Portland Fire Department, Girl Scouts, PNC Peacemakers, the YMCA and others.

The picnic was just one feature of the comprehensive Portland summer meals program, which provides free lunches to kids and teens age 18 and younger at 18 neighborhood sites across the city. Almost every summer meal site offers summer learning opportunities—such as science experiments, reading, games, and crafts—almost every day this summer.

Feeding Bodies & Minds is a collaborative initiative of the Portland Public Schools; Healthy Portland (a local Healthy Maine Partnership based out of the city of Portland’s Public Health Division); Preble Street Maine Hunger Initiative; 211 Maine; the USDA Summer Food Service Program; and a number of Portland ConnectED partners, including The Opportunity Alliance.

Portland ConnectED is a cross-sector partnership working to improve educational and economic outcomes for Portland children, families and students from cradle to career.

This year, Portland’s summer meals program is also supported through grants received by Preble Street Maine Hunger Initiative and the city of Portland from Cities Combating Hunger through Afterschool & Summer Meals Programs (CHAMPS), an initiative of the National League of Cities and the Food Research and Action Committee. The primary goal of this effort is to reduce childhood hunger in Portland by expanding access to and participation in the USDA At-Risk Afterschool and Summer Meal Programs.

For more information about summer meals and summer learning, visit www.portlandschools.org and click on the “Portland Summer Success: Feeding Bodies & Minds” button at the bottom of the home page or click here.
Jeanne Crocker, Michael Brennan at picnicPicnic.VegetableRapcircus performer at picnic