Portland Parks & Recreation’s Free Lunch + Play Returns for 2024!

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Parks Local Option Levy funds thousands of free meals with games and activities in parks
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(Portland, OR) –

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) is bringing back Free Lunch + Play on Monday, June 24, 2024. The popular annual program, made possible by the 2020 voter-approved Parks Local Option Levy (Parks Levy), will begin with Free Lunch + Play meals, activities, games, and fun at 20 parks citywide - including eight in East Portland.

Delighted kids play with Summer Free For All staff holding a colorful parachute, on a cloudless summer day in 2023.
Delighted kids play with Summer Free For All staff holding a colorful parachute, on a cloudless summer day in 2023.

Filling the summertime meal gap with Free Lunch + Play

More than 50% of young Portlanders qualify for free and reduced lunches during the school year. Portland Parks & Recreation supports families by offering nutritious meals and recreational activities during the summer break when most schools are not in session. PP&R’s Free Lunch + Play meals are accompanied by play activities including sports, games, arts, crafts, music, and other activities provided by trained staff, PP&R’s arts centers and community program partners. 

Free Lunch + Play is delivered in partnership with four local public school districts including Portland, Centennial, David Douglas, and Parkrose at about two dozen parks across the city (Monday through Friday) and five Mobile Lunch + Play sites in East Portland (days vary; see the online schedule for details). 

Meals are provided by Portland Public Schools, Centennial School District, Parkrose School District, and David Douglas School District. All meals adhere to the USDA Federal Lunch Program rules and regulations. Youth 18 years and under must be in person to receive meals, handwashing is required, meals must be eaten on-site, and meals may only be served during stated mealtimes. There are no Free Lunch + Play activities or meals on Thursday, July 4, or July 5, 2024.

A Summer Free For All staffer pauses and smiles before continuing to distribute free meals on a sunny summer day.
A Summer Free For All staffer pauses and smiles before continuing to distribute free meals on a sunny summer day.

Mobile Lunch + Play

Portland Parks & Recreation brings the Free Lunch + Play experience to children at four apartment complexes and one park for kids to enjoy meals, arts, crafts, games, and sports. The Mobile Lunch + Play schedule is here.

Summer Free For All HAS it all

Along with Free Lunch + Play, this year’s Summer Free For All series also features more than 50 events, festivals, and performances for people of all ages this summer. Enjoy world-class live music outdoors, multicultural festivals, free outdoor movies, and more fun across the city. 

For schedules and information, visit the Summer Free For All webpage. Schedules are currently available in English and Spanish, and will soon be posted in Russian, Somali, Chinese, Vietnamese, and many other languages.

“Summer Free For All is one of Portland’s signature annual event series,” says Vibrant Communities Commissioner Dan Ryan. “This year’s lineup is full of fun, diverse entertainment for Portlanders of all ages.”

The Summer Free For All programs could not be held without the Parks Levy, a critical community investment. As promised to Portland voters, the Parks Levy is delivering for the city, providing recreational programs including family-friendly movies and concerts, fitness and art classes, teen- and senior-focused programs, life-saving swim lessons, and more. The Parks Levy also allows PP&R to remove financial barriers, and Summer Free For All’s free programming eliminates cost as a barrier to participation. Thank you, Portland, for your support of the Parks Levy!

“Summer Free For All is one of the best ways to get introduced to all that Portland Parks & Recreation has to offer,” says Parks Director Adena Long. “And when school is out, Portland Parks & Recreation helps fill the summer meal gap with Free Lunch + Play offerings in parks, and even at apartment complexes. It’s going to be another lively season full of memorable events. I hope people take part in them, and even better, come work with us this summer!”

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