WILKES-BARRE, PA, 06/10/2019 – The Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA is joining the Y’s national effort to serve more than five million meals to 150,000 kids and teens this summer with a free program in partnership with local community organizations.
In an effort to combat child hunger and keep kids active and engaged throughout the summer, the Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA will again offer its free Food and Fun at the Park program at six Wilkes-Barre City parks and at the Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA, which is located on West Northampton Street in Wilkes-Barre. The program will begin June 24th and will be in session Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m., until August 16th. Park programs are cancelled if it is raining.
By partnering with several organizations, the Y will provide nutritious meals, snacks, and fun learning activities to keep youth healthy, active, and well-nourished all summer. Mt. Zion Food Services is providing the healthy lunches, the City of Wilkes-Barre is providing local park sites, and the Luzerne/Schuykill Workforce Investment Board and PA Career Link is providing summer park attendants. Additional partners are providing funding for programming, nutrition education and enrichment activities: the Rite Aid Foundation’s KidCents Regional Grant Program, YMCA of the USA and the City of Wilkes-Barre Health Department. Park site supervisors are experienced college interns funded by a State/Local Internship Program grant from the Luzerne/Schuylkill Workforce Investment Board in partnership with PA CareerLink.
A special feature of the program will be the Imagination Station Café, funded by the United Way of Wyoming Valley, which engages kids in entertaining reading and literacy activities and provides free books for their home libraries. The Imagination Station Cafe is held in every Food and Fun site every day for approximately one hour.
More than 22 million children nationally rely on free or reduced lunches during the school year, posing a dilemma to economically-challenged families during the summer when they must devote an additional $300 to feed each of their school-aged children. Studies show that one in six children may not know when their next meal will be.
The Food and Fun at the Park Program can help alleviate these factors by not only providing healthy food, but also fun, enrichment-based activities to stimulate young minds. Additional scheduled activities include weekly Tasty Thursdays healthy snack tasting and nutrition education, bike safety, environmental education, bullying prevention, and pop-up produce stands.
Food and Fun at the Park serves children in grades K through 12. Pre-school children are welcome, but must be accompanied by a caregiver over the age of 16. Lunch will be provided by Mt. Zion Food Services from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m., and snacks will be served at 10:30 a.m. There will be no program on July 4th.
Food and Fun at the Park will be held at the following sites maintained by the City of Wilkes-
Barre, along with the YMCA:
1. Coal Street Park (Coal and North Sherman streets)
2. Iron Triangle Playground (corner of Hickory and Metcalf streets)
3. Spruce Street Playground (on Spruce Street just after Blackman Street.
4. Huber Park (Stanton and Huber streets)
5. Parsons Park (on Scott Street just after Matson Avenue)
6. Miner Park (Old River Road near Kistler Elementary School)
7. Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA (40 W. Northampton Street).
NOTE: Space is limited to the first 40 kids daily.
To learn more about Food and Fun at the Park, visit www.wbymca.org or call the Y at 570-823-2191.
About the Y
The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 22 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver lasting personal and social change. www.wbymca.org