Mercy Home to make this month a 'March for Kids'

Campaign helps break cycles of abuse and neglect
CHICAGO -- Volunteers will again be out in force on Chicago-area street corners, St. Patrick's Day parades, and other events throughout the month of March, collecting donations to help Mercy Home for Boys & Girls give at-risk children a safe place to live, therapy to heal from the trauma of abuse and neglect, and tools like education and job skills to help them build independence.

Mercy Home for Boys & Girls' March for Kids campaign is the public's chance to help children break the cycle of abuse and neglect.

The campaign will feature teams of street volunteers collecting donations to Mercy Home and handing out Mercy Home Shamrocks as a way of saying 'thank you.' Donations like those generated by its March for Kids effort supply Mercy Home with 100% of the funds it needs to care for children 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Clad in their signature green aprons, Mercy Home March for Kids volunteers will collect donations at Chicago-area St. Patrick's Day parades and celebrations including:

-Forest Park St. Patrick's Day Parade, Saturday March 2
-Chicago's Loop, Friday, March 15
-Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade, Saturday, March 16
-South Side Irish Parade, Sunday, March 17

Additionally, volunteers are organizing donation drives at area businesses, churches, schools, and community groups.

Throughout the month, Mercy Home's web site (mercyhome.org) will accept contributions to the campaign that will be matched dollar-for-dollar by a generous donor. The effort will be highlighted on March 15 during a special "Giving Day" at mercyhome.org.

Celebrity spokesman Bill Rancic is also helping get the word out through media appearances while raising funds through his RPM Steak and RPM Italian restaurants in Chicago. A portion of proceeds from special menu items during the month will benefit Mercy Home's March for Kids. Similarly, a number of Chicago restaurants will raise donations, including Monteverde, Theater on the Lake, Lula Café, Piccolo Sogno, and Nonnina.

Mercy Home's Associates Board, which is made up of young professionals, will officially kick off Mercy Home's March for Kids with a party and fundraiser at Butch McGuire's, 20 W. Division Street, Chicago on Saturday, March 2 from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Mercy Home is calling on all interested volunteers to help make this effort a success. Any individual, business, or group can help provide a safe and supportive home for children in need just by signing up to be a Mercy Home March for Kids volunteer. It's a fun and unique way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, complete a Lenten, school, or family service project, or organize an office team-building initiative. Go to www.mercyhome.org/marchforkids to sign up.

Mercy Home President Rev. L. Scott Donahue thanked supporters for the impact they have on young people who for more than 132 years have turned to Mercy Home in search of hope and healing.

"I am deeply grateful to so many kind, compassionate people who help make this mission possible through their involvement in Mercy Home's March for Kids year after year, Fr. Donahue said. "Mercy Home relies entirely on the generosity of men and women like these, and donors across the country, to keep our doors open to children in need. And it's because of their generosity that the children entrusted to our care are able to overcome tremendous adversity in their young lives, break cycles of abuse and neglect, and grow into successful adults."

Mercy Home's March for Kids has been held annually under different names, since 1996 when it was known as A Touch O' Green. For ten years, it was known as Shamrocks for Kids before being renamed and expanded in 2014. Today, Mercy Home's March for Kids involves significant promotion from media and corporate partners, involvement in several area parades and events, fundraisers in restaurants and other business, and hundreds of volunteers who donate their time and energy to help kids at Mercy Home.

Look for promotions this month on Mercy Home March for Kids television partner ABC7 Chicago. To learn more how you can make this moth a March for Kids, visit mercyhome.org.

About Mercy Home for Boys & Girls

Mercy Home for Boys & Girls (mercyhome.org) has been a solution for kids in crisis since 1887. Through its residential, aftercare, and mentoring programs, Mercy Home offers a safe home, emotional healing, education, and life-changing opportunities for more than 900 young people every year. It gives children who have suffered abuse, neglect, poverty and even abandonment the therapeutic, academic and vocational support they need to heal from the traumas of their pasts and build success for their futures. Mercy Home is 100% privately funded and operates at three locations in Chicago - a home for boys in the West Loop neighborhood, a home for girls in Beverly, and a home for AfterCare residents in South Shore.