For decades, Metro Parks Tacoma has aided in meeting nutritional needs of Tacoma’s youth by serving free lunch in conjunction with its annual Summer Playground program. The District is currently unable to safely provide the drop-in playground activities due to state and Public Health measures in place to help control the spread of COVID-19, but will offer a Grab & Go lunch program to help meet the needs of the community.
“While we can’t offer organized recreation activities at this time, it remains critical for many kids in our community to have access to the meals they rely on receiving in their local parks each summer,” explained Metro Parks Executive Director Shon Sylvia. “Those who qualify to receive free and reduced lunch during the school year continue to have nutritional needs during the summer. The free lunches we have historically provided each year are a vital service we need to sustain in areas of our community with the highest need.”
This year—as the District faces the greatest revenue challenges in its more than century-long existence—a grant from Safeway’s Nourishing Neighbors Relief Fund and a partnership with Safe Streets are helping ensure kids have access to meals in our their parks this summer.
“Now, perhaps more than ever, we all need to ensure that kids in our community don’t suffer from food insecurity,” Metro Parks Board President Tim Reid said. “We’re extremely grateful for partnerships with Safeway and Safe Streets that enable us to provide this vital service for their health and well-being.”
Free lunch is available to all youth under 18 years of age at the locations listed below. The District’s Grab & Go meal service may be expanded to include a playground component later this summer, but that will be dependent on Pierce County progressing from its current phase of reopening and the District being able to secure service providers with COVID-19 safety training and experience.
The free lunch program is available from noon to 1 p.m., Monday-Friday through August 28 at these park locations:
1201 S. Puget Sound Ave.
4321 McKinley Ave.
|Portland Ave Park|
3513 Portland Ave.
4851 S. Tacoma Way
6500 S. Sheridan Ave.
501 South I St
Several Tacoma community partners are also offering meal services this summer to help meet community-wide needs. Learn More
Play Safe this Summer
Parents are advised to visit the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department website regularly, for the latest guidance for playing safely in public spaces and limiting their family’s risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Current local Public Health guidance limits use of public playground structures to use by no more than five children at a time. Face coverings are required for ages 5 and up, and recommended for those who are 2 to 4 years old. Face coverings are not advised for children 2 and under. Parents should remind children not to touch their face as they play and bring hand sanitizer to apply after using public play areas. Park users are required to maintain a minimum distance of 6’ from people outside of their own households if they are not wearing a face covering.