Teens participating in the McPherson County Ulster Project 2017, along with their counterparts from Northern Ireland, collected $367.46 during the Fourth of July Celebration hosted by the McPherson Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Their efforts included selling bottled water donated by Hall’s Culligan of McPherson. All funds will support the McPherson School Supply Train.

Purchasing school supplies can be a costly undertaking for many families. The School Supply Train, established by longtime McPherson resident and educator Shirley Adams, offers backpacks with supplies for qualifying students entering grades K-5.

Families qualifying for free or reduced lunches are eligible to participate. School supplies will be distributed Aug. 4 and 5 in the McPherson High School wrestling room.

The mission of Ulster Project International is to help leaders from Northern Ireland and America to become peacemakers capable of uniting those divided by difference. Each year, eight Protestant and Catholic students from Portadown, Northern Ireland are paired with McPherson County teens of the same gender with similar interests. This fosters friendship between communities and strengthens ties through learning peace-building strategies through the month of July.

The Ulster Project began in the United States in 1975 and has grown to include 28 American host communities paired with eight Northern Ireland communities.

The McPherson County project has hosted students since 2006.