COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Hundreds gathered Saturday near the South Linden neighborhood for the third annual Proud Dad Cookout hosted by the African-American Male Wellness Agency (AAMWA).

The event offered free food and fun, family-friendly activities to celebrate fathers across central Ohio.

Past Proud Dad Cookouts welcomed smaller crowds due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so the AAMWA aimed to host a thousand people at this year’s celebration.

Organizers said they want to celebrate a community environment of active fathers.

“So we know that when fathers are involved in their kids’ lives, they have a greater chance of going to college, graduating high school, not ending up in prison, being better contributors to society,” said Malcolm White with AAMWA.

Organizers said they want to encourage all fathers across central Ohio to take the Proud Dad Pledge, which can be found by clicking here.