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Winter Walk supports solidarity

Peter Leahy | Monday, February 14, 2005

Rain and bitter winds proved no match for the spirit of the South Bend community Sunday when people congregated for the St. Margaret’s House sixth annual Winter Walk. Residents of the city joined forces with many Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students, as well as members of the Saint Mary’s softball and tennis teams, to show their support for single mothers and their children by walking a 1.5 mile course along the streets of South Bend.Walkers collected pledges prior to the event to raise money for St. Margaret’s, which provides a day center for women and children in need. According to St. Margaret’s Board President Nancy Brennen, the walk has been the major contributor that allows St. Margaret’s volunteers to provide care.”It’s our largest fundraiser,” she said, prior to this year’s walk. “Last year, we raised over $40,000.”With these funds, St. Margaret’s is able to provide lunch for 70 women and children every day, Brennen said. The walk is also an important way to alert the community about the needs of single mothers and their children, she said.”The whole point of the walk is to raise awareness about women in poverty and who don’t have transportation,” she said. “It gives us some visibility when you see this mass of people walking down South Bend.”Also present at the walk was a group of young girls from St. Joseph’s grade school in South Bend. Molly Clark, a seven-year-old from Granger, has been to the walk every year except last year. This year, she raised $107 for the cause.”I knocked on some doors and called a couple people,” she said.She explained the rain did not bother her, and that she understood what St. Margaret’s meant to the community.”It helps children and women,” Clark said.Eight year-old Mary Kate Hall expressed support for the walk, as well. Hall and her friends were active in promoting the walk at their school.”We did announcements, like little conversations over the loudspeaker to talk about what Winter Walk was about,” Hall said.Hall and her friends visit the people St. Margaret’s each month and hold food collections for homeless in the area.”[We’re] trying to help them, make them feel better,” she said.Older students showed similar concern for single mothers and their children.Freshman Zahm Hall resident Mike McKenna emphasized students at Notre Dame are part of a codependent society and are obligated to help the community.”It’s important to remember that Notre Dame is a part of a larger community,” he said, “and this is a way to show that we’re a part of that.”