Childhood obesity affects 17% of all children and adolescents in the United States. Recognizing this growing epidemic plaguing our nation, Metro Parks Tacoma has partnered with Subway Restaurants to overhaul the nutritional value of summer lunches the district provides in its parks through the National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs. Metro Parks is the only public agency in the state partnering with a national restaurant chain to provide children with meals exceeding the minimum standards for free summer lunches available through the program.
While out of school during the summer months, the USDA Simplified Summer Food Program keeps children who otherwise may go hungry fed through local parks and playgrounds, such as Metro Parks Tacoma (MPT). With childhood obesity reaching crisis levels, MPT has taken this opportunity to aid in the fight. Joining with Subway® Restaurants in its efforts, the Park District will provide free, well-balanced lunches and snacks to Tacoma-area youth, offering them a diet that not only meets but exceeds national health guidelines.
“While ensuring children have food to eat is a vital first step, what we are feeding them is even more important,” says Shon Sylvia, director of recreation and community services, Metro Parks Tacoma. “We made the decision to invest more in the summer food program to express our commitment to the health and well-being of our community. It’s great having Subway Restaurants in our parks.”
As Dr. Anthony Chen, Director of Health at the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and member of the Tacoma-Pierce County ACHIEVE Board of Directors notes, “Keeping our kids active and feeding them healthy meals throughout the summer are two of the most important things we can do for their health. We can help our children lead healthier lives by supporting improvements to school nutrition, summer meal programs and providing them access to physical activities. Metro Parks Tacoma has taken a leadership position in helping children in Pierce County achieve the healthy lives that all kids deserve.”
To support this partnership, Metro Parks Tacoma will distribute SUBWAY® FRESH Fit for Kids® meals, developed to fit into the American Heart Association’s approach to a healthy lifestyle. These meals are intended to fill the nutrition gap and ensure children get the meals they need as part of the MPT annual Summer Playground program. Subway® Restaurants will supply fresh, healthy meals – including grains, vegetables, fruits, lean protein and dairy items.
“We look forward to the positive impact Subway will bring to the Simplified Summer Food Program,” said Ethan Golf, President of Subway Development of Southwestern Washington. “Subway’s approach to nutrition brings a wonderful approach to addressing obesity and nutrition issues. We are excited to take part in Tacoma’s development towards becoming a more health-conscious community.”
SUBWAY MEALSITE LOCATIONS
The Metro Parks Summer Playground and Free Lunch program runs June 20 to August 19, offering meal sites along with active recreation opportunities for kids at a number of Tacoma parks and facilities. The program runs 7 days a week; with lunches served Monday-Friday from noon-1pm (weekends include activities only).
Monday – Sunday at:
Jefferson Park, McKinley Playfield South Park and
Monday – Friday at:
Franklin Park, Jane Clark Park, Manitou Park and Portland Ave Playfield
Monday, Wednesday & Friday at: