A summer food outreach program developed with the help of dedicated community members and altruistic teenagers met all the outlined goals that were set during the program’s development. Nearly $6,000 was donated by local groups, businesses and individuals who helped provide more than 70 local children with meals throughout the summer months.
A recently prepared summary report of the project shows that more than 430 weekday meals and almost 450 ‘Buddy Bags’ filled with food for the weekends were provided during the “Warrior up for Jesus – Fun and Food Outreach” program. It was held at the Pulaski County Public Library in the afternoons on weekdays from May 30 through August 4th. Aside from providing healthy food, the program also included fun and meaningful activities three days a week.
The idea for the program initially came from two middle school members of the Winamac First United Methodist Church after they assisted with a mission trip in Fort Wayne and wanted to impact their community in the same way. Mary Marty, the director of the youth and family ministry program was inspired by those young people and began brainstorming community service ideas with teens and other church and community members.
When the idea of a summer outreach program came about, administrator of the Pulaski County Library MacKenzie Ledly was on board. She shared that in recent years, she noticed an abundance of students spending their days at the library with little to no provisions for lunch or snacks. With the support of the library board, she offered the community room at the library as the location for the project.
There were more than 80 involved volunteers ranging from teen-aged to geriatric and from community and church members to business owners and major organizations. The program will continue in the future and Marty said donated funds that weren’t spent this year will be saved as seed money for next summer’s outreach.