Teenagers from the Ulster Project of McPherson County, volunteered for the 2014 Summer Lunch Program of McPherson Wednesday.

Teenagers from the Ulster Project of McPherson County, volunteered for the 2014 Summer Lunch Program of McPherson Wednesday.
The teenagers helped pack the lunches that would be delivered later that day. They also lent a hand by collecting donations on the Fourth of July before the fireworks at Wall Park.
The Ulster Project is an organization intended to help Christian teenagers from Northern Ireland and the United States learn the skills necessary for uniting people with differences. Each year the Ulster Project brings teens from Northern Ireland to the U.S. Half are Catholic and half are Protestant; half are girls and half are boys. They live with host families of the same faith with children of the same age for a month.
The Summer Lunch Program is one of the students’ community service projects.
For many low-income families, school breakfasts and lunches throughout the school year become essential. Without such support through the summer months, many children must make do with limited supplies of food for the summer. The McPherson County Community Foundation and the United Way of McPherson County collaborated to create the Summer Lunch Program to combat this situation. The program provides kid-friendly food, such as cereal, sandwich supplies, healthy snacks and single-serve fruit cups and pudding. Food is delivered weekly. For those children with allergies or special dietary needs, a separate bag with appropriate snacks is prepared.
“We are always excited to have the Ulster Project come in,” said Olivia Fetsch, Summer Lunch Program coordinator. “They are so organized and happy to help.”
To make the fundraising a little more fun and exciting, the teens made collecting donations into a competition. The team of Riley Burghart and her counterpart Cara Gribbon from Northern Ireland collected $134, the most money collected by any of the teens. The teens raised a total of $700 on the Fourth of July. For every $1 contributed to the Summer Lunch Program, the Waldhauer Memorial Fund will contribute 50 cents up to $1,000 to help the program.
After their fundraising, the teens came together and helped pack the lunches. They will do this each week until they leave.
“It was fun to see where our fundraising went,” Burghart said. “A lot of times you raise money and that’s it, you don’t see the end result.”
During the 2013 summer, 227 children received weekly deliveries of nutritional snacks and food bringing the five year total to 886 children who have benefited from the program. The program will run from June 4 through July 30 this year.
For more information, contact the United Way of McPherson County at 620-241-5152 or the McPherson County Community Foundation at 620-245-9070.

Contact Teri L. Hansen by email at thansen@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow her on Twitter @HansenSentinel.