Pandemic won’t rain on Mercy Home’s parade
March can be grayest month in Chicago. That’s why so many of us look forward to the chance to add a splash of vibrant, Emerald Green to our surroundings in honor of St. Patrick.
Unfortunately, most public celebrations have been put on ice once again out of safety concerns arising from COVID-19. But being the hearty Midwesterners we are, Chicagoans will find ways to be festive for St. Patrick’s Day.
Since 1996, Chicago’s Mercy Home for Boys & Girls has observed this time of year, as well as its own rich Irish heritage, with an annual outreach and fundraising program, known as March for Kids. Despite an ever-evolving menu of related events, the focus of the program has been on raising funds that make Mercy Home’s work possible. And the defining fundraising activity for March for Kids has been its volunteers, clad in green vests, hitting the streets around area St. Patrick’s Day parades and collecting donations that provide Mercy Home’s young people with safety, healing, education, career development and more.
With the cancellation of parades and most other public gatherings, Mercy Home is hosting its St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the digital realm this year. March for Kids will remain an invitation to the public to support its serious work, while still offering chances to have fun.
The centerpiece of the campaign will be the appeal for direct donations, which can be made on its website, mercyhome.org. Gifts made during the entire month of March will be matched by a generous donor and help kids build brighter futures.
But Mercy Home’s March for Kids will still provide opportunities to socialize, if even only virtually. And many happy participants will walk away as big winners. For example, Mercy Home’s 8th Annual Poker Night, normally held in January at Gibsons will now be a virtual event on March 19. The popular yearly event features a Texas Hold ‘em style poker tournament in which players compete for a number of prizes, including the ultimate—a one-week stay at the Hakuna Matata Luxury Villa in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.
Thanks to DuPage Chrysler Jeep Dodge, March for Kids will include raffle to win a 2021 Jeep Cherokee Latitude 4×4, with proceeds benefitting Mercy Home. Entries to win are $50 and are available at mercyhome.org from now until March 31. Only 1,500 will be sold.
March for Kids even includes an event for craft beer enthusiast. Mercy Home’s Associate Board, a volunteer group of young professionals who support Mercy Home, will hold its very first “Revolution Brews & Piano Tunes” on March 12. Participants will be led by an experienced brew master in an immersive, virtual tasting of Revolution Brewing’s core beers including their flagship Anti-Hero IPA. The event will also feature an interactive, live performance by Ben A., “the Piano Man.”
St. Patrick’s Day may not be celebrated at quite the same volume as it usually is in Chicago. But nothing will keep Chicagoans from having fun and supporting a great cause.
Mercy Home’s Irish roots run deep. From its founding fathers to the succession of priests who have led the Home since 1887, including its current President and CEO Fr. Scott Donahue, each one has been of Irish-American decent.