When school is out, lunch is still in.
With the help of State Sen. Byron Brown, D-Buffalo, and WBLK-FM, the Buffalo Board of Education launched the "Do Lunch" program Wednesday afternoon in Martin Luther King Jr. Park.
About 300 children turned out for the kickoff, which included lunch and activities.
"It's an investment in the total community," Brown said. "If (the children) grow up healthy, strong and get a good education, they can really grow to make important contributions to the community."
The meal program will operate from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays until Aug. 22 at more than 200 sites located in parks, schools, community centers and churches, providing the free lunches to any child, regardless of family income.
Bridget O'Brien Wood, director of food service, said an estimated 18,000 lunches will be served every day this summer, compared with 35,000 during the school year.
Most meal sites are indoors. The few major outdoor sites include Riverside Park, Hennepin Park, Cazenovia Park and King Park.
The Buffalo Police Department is a partner in the program to make sure each site stays safe.
"We want to provide a safe environment for children and reach as many as we can," Wood said.
Rose Jordan of Buffalo brought her three grandchildren to Wednesday's event. She said they came not only for the free lunches, but also for the activities.
"They're more interested in the activities than the food," Jordan said.
Rodney Callahan of Buffalo said he gathered up his nephews and a few neighborhood kids and brought them all.
"It's a nice event for kids," he said.