Join Sim­ple Dreams for a Pic­nic in the Park

The Beacon Herald - - FRONT PAGE - TERRY BRIDGE STAFF RE­PORTER

It’s a sim­ple idea, but it’s ex­actly what Sim­ple Dreams’ co-founders are try­ing to achieve.

Ruth and Richard Knei­der, the faces be­hind the Strat­ford-based char­ity, are bring­ing back their an­nual bring-your-own-pic­nic com­mu­nity event in just over a week. Sched­uled for July 22 from noon to 4 p.m. in Upper Queen’s Park, the so­cial gath­er­ing has three main ob­jec­tives.

“Pack a lunch, in­vite a friend, en­joy the day,” Richard said Fri­day.

“That’s what it’s all about.”

The goal of Pic­nic in the Park is to slow the pace down and un­plug from tech­nol­ogy for a cou­ple of hours.

“Over the sum­mer, things just get crazy busy for peo­ple. They’re al­ways do­ing some­thing or on the go, we thought this might just be one day that they can sit down, re­lax, take a pic­nic lunch and en­joy the day,” Richard Knei­der said.

The Knei­ders en­cour­aged par­tic­i­pants to bring peo­ple with them.

“It’s not nec­es­sar­ily that is has to be a friend – maybe it’s a new neigh­bour that’s come into town,” Richard Knei­der said.

Ruth Knei­der said they usu­ally in­vite other peo­ple who are al­ready in the park that day to join them.

While pa­trons bring their own food, Sim­ple Dreams will pro­vide en­ter­tain­ment. Old-fash­ioned games such as three-legged and po­tato-sack races, tug-of-war, and a shoe toss will be con­tested in ad­di­tion to a gi­ant block puz­zle.

“Just things that the kids can get in­volved in,” Richard Knei­der said.

“It’s just fun for kids,” Ruth Knei­der added.

Michael Ban­ner­man, his brother Scott, and his chil­dren’s band, The Fu­ture, will be on site. Some prizes are up for grabs, too.

Since it was founded about six years ago, the turnout has been “very good,” Richard Knei­der said.

“And the weather’s been, for the most part, favourable,” he added.

Pic­nic in the Park is one of sev­eral an­nual pro­grams hosted by Sim­ple Dreams, which fo­cuses on help­ing the work­ing poor both in the lo­cal com­mu­nity and through­out the prov­ince.

In the past, it’s pro­vided beds, house re­pairs and trans­porta­tion to med­i­cal treat­ments for peo­ple in need.

In early Au­gust, they will be part­ner­ing with the city for a free pizza party at Lion’s Pool.

GALEN SIM­MONS/THE BEA­CON HER­ALD

Site prepa­ra­tion was well un­der­way Fri­day af­ter­noon for Strat­ford’s new tran­sit hub at the Cooper Site’s Downie Street park­ing lot.

TERRY BRIDGE/THE BEA­CON HER­ALD

Sim­ple Dreams co-founders Ruth and Richard Knei­der hold up a Pic­nic in the Park poster.

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