NEWPORT — Gardner Park in Newport was flooded in sounds of delight from children and families as they came out for an afternoon of fun games, activities, and fresh, local food at Green Mountain Farm-to-School’s (GMFTS) 4th Annual Summer Block Party on June 22.
The Summer Block Party, a free annual community event held by GMFTS that kicks off the summer season, partnered with over a dozen organizations to set up games and activities like face painting and bike safety lessons for attendees to enjoy this year.
“The annual Summer Block Party is a great opportunity to build relationships and engage with families and community members in a fun and relaxed setting,” said Ally Howell, tobacco prevention coordinator with Northeast Kingdom Learning Services in Newport who tabled and set up a bag throwing game for the kids.
The afternoon also celebrated the beginning of the GMFTS Lunchbox food truck’s free summer meals program, a 10-week program where all kids 18-years-old and younger can receive a free lunch in Barton, Newport, and Island Pond on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays respectively.
The Lunchbox served up fresh, local lunches throughout the afternoon that were free for kids and could be purchased by the community with all proceeds helping to support the free meals program.
“With so many people coming out for the afternoon, we were able to serve more free lunches than last year, pass out more Lunchbox schedules to families, and show that the Lunchbox is also serving up fresh, local feel good lunches for the community all this summer,” said Kendall Lambert, consumer education and food access coordinator with GMFTS and organizer of the event.
During the Summer Block Party the Lunchbox served 190 free lunches to kids and 63 lunches were purchased by community members.