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Students donate coats to needy

April Thomas | Thursday, October 28, 2004

Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students are teaming up to help make this winter a little more comfortable for South Bend residents through the Project Warmth coat drive.

The drive has included Saint Mary’s campus for the first time in its decade-long history.

Notre Dame organizers Colin Walsh and Kathryn Eisele have arranged a dorm-wide competition for coat donations.

“Last year I believe Farley and Zahm tied for the most coats,” Walsh said.

However, Saint Mary’s junior class community service chairwoman Shannon McManus is optimistic, about Saint Mary’s own efforts.

“Even the staff is getting involved,” McManus said. “It’s great.”

Walsh is impressed and pleased with these efforts.

“Shannon has done an amazing job with getting Saint Mary’s involved,” Walsh said.

As in past years, Notre Dame’s Hammes Bookstore offers a 25 percent discount coupon on any new coat with each coat donation.

“We’ve been involved from the beginning,” bookstore senior staff assistant Melanie Willamowski said.

Walsh pointed out that other areas of campus are also pitching in.

“Notre Dame Building Services donated the collection boxes and signs and Saint Michael’s Laundry Service washes the coats for free,” Walsh said.

Notre Dame student government is helping with the Project’s advertising costs.

The warmth may even spread beyond South Bend. With many of the previous years’ coats being distributed to South Bend organizations like the Center for the Homeless, Project Warmth also sends the coats to other areas.

“Some coats in the past have been shipped to Appalachia, and even other countries,” Walsh said.

On Saint Mary’s campus, Project Warmth is sponsored by the junior class and the student government association.

And while McManus is not certain Saint Mary’s participation will help Project Warmth exceed last year’s collection of 3,500 coats, the piles of filled donation bags in LeMans Hall are reassuring.

“For our first year, we’re doing great,” McManus said.