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Local program feeds hundreds of kids and their families during summer months

BLASDELL, N.Y. (WIVB) - A local program is helping hundreds of kids during the summer months. The program, in the Frontier School District, is in its third year. It helps families during the months when school lunches aren't available. Every single day, for six weeks, kids and their families can eat for free. 

"A lot of my friends are here almost every day," Benji Clark said, after enjoying his lunch. 

At Blasdell Elementary, in the district, 56 percent of kids receive free or reduced lunches during the school year. During the summer months, those lunches would normally go away, but that's not the case here. 

"Usually we have summers off, but they actually want to work," the Frontier School District food service director, Jason Whipple said, talking about his staff. "This program has brought a lot of fire sparked in them."

The cafeteria staff is there, putting together food just as they would during the school year, but they're serving it in a more open-air location. 

There are three locations families can go to get the free lunches: JFK Park, Loring Park and Woodlawn Beach. They serve the lunches from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in July and August. The last day of the program is August 18. 

Parents can eat free too. Whipple said 220 to 225 people are fed at the three locations each day. 

"You get crackers, sometimes raisins, cheese sticks and carrots," Clark said. 

A lot of what you'll see there is fresh and local as well. For example, all the grapes are from Concord, NY. 

"We try to focus on New York State first, and then from there, we expand outward," Whipple said. 

A community garden is harvested as well, and included in the menu. 

Crafts and games are planned for the kids too. 

"Look around and see the smiling faces," Whipple said. This is why we do what we do. It's incredible to see those kids smiling... it just makes the world better."


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