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The news that first captured my attention was Frank Morales‘ now-you-see-him/now-you-don’t tenure at Ray’s the Steaks at East River, but owner Michael Landrum thinks I should focus on something more positive/constructive about his Ward 7  steak house: the new after-school program he’s set to launch.

“We have the foundation in place for an after-school meals program starting on Mondays and looking to expand to other days,” says Landrum during a phone conversation this afternoon. The goal is to provide “hot, healthy, and nutritional meals for kids who may not be going home to such a meal.”

Landrum originally thought he’d launch the program in the fall, but the East River operation has been so well-received — and doing so much more business — the owner was able to start it earlier than expected.  It will officially kick off next week.

The owner is bankrolling the entire program himself, Landrum says. He’s even looking to hire a director to run it.

The program, Landrum adds, will “start to be able to fulfill my mission” for the restaurant.