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Eric’s Promise collects donations

Liz Harter | Friday, March 28, 2008

As part of a Lenten project, Saint’s Mary’s students helped collect clothing for the Saint Vincent de Paul Society of St. Joseph County as part of the Eric’s Promise project.

Last year, Mary Molnar, the director of nursing at the Center for Hospice and Palliative Care in South Bend, visited a class of Saint Mary’s nursing students to discuss different aspects of hospice care.

While there, she told the students about her son, Eric Henry Molnar, who was killed in a car accident in early 2002.

Senior Lindsey Piehl, the president of the Student Nurses Association (SNA), said Molnar told the group that Eric had gathered several bags of old clothing to donate to Saint Vincent de Paul.

“His Lenten mission which he told his mother was to ‘be more giving,'” Piehl said.

Eric was never able to make that donation to Saint Vincent de Paul due to the accident, but his mother made sure the clothes made it to the center, she said. Molnar decided to continue her son’s mission to be more giving each year.

“[Molnar] has encouraged the South Bend Community to continue in fulfilling Eric’s Lenten wish by collecting clothing and household goods during the Lenten season,” Piehl said. “To this date more than 65,000 pounds of items have been donated.”

Piehl said SNA decided to bring the Eric’s Promise project to Saint Mary’s because all the women who heard Molnar speak wanted to help and the group wanted to allow the entire community to help as well.

“This project is a matter close to the nursing majors’ hearts … We wanted to get the entire Saint Mary’s community involved in donating to such a meaningful service,” she said.

For one week, from March 11 to March 21, SNA placed barrels and boxes in each of the residence halls and the student center atrium to allow students and staff to donate clothing to the project.

Piehl said SNA was very happy with the College’s generous response to the project.

“The barrels and boxes were all filled to the top and many were overflowing with items,” she said. “Saint Mary’s proved to be ‘more giving’ during this week of Lent.”

She said she hopes the College continues to participate Eric’s Promise in the years to come because it allows Saint Mary’s to give back to the St. Joseph community of which they are a part.

“This was a great opportunity for our community to be more like Eric Henry and make a conscious effort to be more giving,” Piehl said.