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July 13 Picnic Celebrates Free Summer Meals & Learning for Kids

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July 13 Picnic Celebrates Free Summer Meals & Learning for Kids
Posted on 07/11/2017
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The Portland Public Schools, in association with United Way of Greater Portland and the Preble Street Maine Hunger Initiative, will be hosting a picnic at Deering Oaks Park on Thursday, July 13, to celebrate the free summer meals program for children across the city of Portland this summer.

The  Summer Success Picnic also will be a celebration of National Summer Learning Day, also on July 13. That day highlights the importance of keeping kids learning and also safe and healthy during the summer. Good nutrition is key to good health. Also, youth who spend their summers without quality learning opportunities risk experiencing the “summer slide,” in which they lose ground in subjects such as math and reading.

Youngsters and their parents are invited to the 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. picnic for a day of fun, friends, learning, and food. There will be performances, music jam sessions, face painting, learning activities, prizes and more! All activities and lunch are free for children and teens 18 years old and younger. The rain date for the event is Friday, July 14.

An annual report called “Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation,” released by the Food Research and Action Center, says summer meals programs are crucial because children who rely on free and reduced-price school breakfasts and lunches to keep hunger at bay during the school year lose access to those meals when the school year ends. The reports says that the Preble Street Maine Hunger Initiative has worked with partners across the state to help enact legislation to expand access to summer meals. The state’s average daily participation grew by 28 percent, from 12,613 children served in 2014 – prior to the passage of the legislation – to 16,157 children served in 2016.

The picnic will not only spread awareness about the free lunch sites operating throughout the city this summer through a partnership between the Portland Public Schools and Opportunity Alliance, but also about the hunger gap across the state of Maine. An interactive online map with summer meal site information is available by going to the Portland Public Schools website, www.portlandschools.org  and clicking on the Portland Schools Summer Programs Information banner across the front page. Summer meals information also can be obtained by calling 2-1-1.

The Portland Public Schools and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are equal opportunity providers and employers. Anyone who wishes to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at [email protected] Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish).