Marching Through The Month
We’re halfway through March and hours from St. Patrick’s Day, but our annual March for Kids celebration has already covered a lot of ground.
We kicked off our month-long celebration of our mission with a gathering at Butch McGuire’s hosted by our Associate Board.
We promoted our special seasonal appeal for donations with ads, media interviews, and television and radio PSAs and saw our name in lights high above the skyline. We paraded down Columbus Drive and Western Avenue last weekend. And we gathered with family and friends for our big Post Parade Party on Michigan Avenue downtown.
While March for Kids continues to raise funds and awareness all month long, the highlight of our St. Patrick’s Day celebration was our Post Parade Party. The popular, family-friendly Irish-themed event was a staple of both Touch O’ Green and Shamrock’s for Kids since the mid 90’s. The party was paused for a short time and the campaign was rebranded March for Kids in 2014 before plans were made to bring it back in a new event venue in 2020. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic just days before, the return of the Post Parade Party had to wait another two years, finally going off without a hiccup last year inside a modern, spacious and light-filled venue overlooking Grant Park and Lake Michigan. This year’s event was even bigger with a capacity crowd enjoying Irish food, music, and dance as well as games and prizes for the little ones.
Fr. Scott expressed his gratitude for all who came out and helped make this event a success. “Without you, the miracles that take place in the lives of the young people and families in our care would not be possible,” Fr. Scott said. “We are so fortunate to have this opportunity to celebrate this mission together at this wonderful event.”
Before the party, Fr. Scott gave a family blessing for our VIPs gathered at the event site before heading across the bridge to Mercy Home’s float on Columbus Drive in Grant Park. From atop our float and over a soundtrack of top country music hits, US99 Morning Show deejays Melissa and Austin engaged the throngs that lined the parade route. As our radio partner again this year, US99 has been airing PSAs in support of March for Kids. Listen below:
“We are so fortunate to have this opportunity to celebrate this mission together at this wonderful event.”
– Fr. Scott Donahue
Behind our parade contingent marched our good friends from County Cork including the Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr Danny Collins, Cork County Council, and volunteers from Cork County Civil Defense, a group that supports emergency services in Ireland. The Cork delegation had visited us the morning before. During the parade broadcast on ABC7, Collins told reporter Liz Nagy about his visit to Mercy Home the day before. “What work they do!,” Collins exclaimed during his parade-side interview. “They’re a credit to their country. They give people second chances.”
Our Celtic cavalcade didn’t conclude once it hit Monroe Street. Mercy Home took the march to the South Side on Sunday for the annual South Side Irish Parade, where our young women waived to thousands of revelers all along Western Avenue before decamping just a few blocks from our Walsh Campus at 116th and Longwood Dr.
Of course, the March for Kids continues beyond the parade weekend, running through the end of the month, especially online, where a generous donor is matching all gifts. Additionally, peer-to-peer fundraising continues, and friends such as Wintrust Bank and area counsels of the Knights of Columbus are collecting donations.
Further, supporters are helping us get the word out about our mission to help kids in crisis, including PSAs that are running on ABC7 Chicago and window lights on the face of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower, which were creatively arranged last Friday evening to display the message “MERCY HOME” like a beacon of hope for our city.
No matter where or how or even when you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this year Mercy Home’s March for Kids has all of Chicago covered.