|Posted on 2/6/2008 11:51:58 AM|
Author: Mary Molnar
Our guest blogger today is Mary Molnar. Mary started Eric's Promise in memory of her son in 2002. Read her story here and then check out the organization's website here.
On Ash Wednesday in February of 2002, my son Eric Henry made a Lenten promise to “try to be more giving.” He was collecting clothes to give to the St. Vincent de Paul Society. I was happy about this for two reasons, one, he thought about doing this on his own and secondly, his room was looking alittle cleaner!
Eric usually gave up candy as his Lenten sacrifice since he loved it so much. His favorite was Gummi Bears or anything that would stick to his braces or so it seemed! This year was different. His thoughts were geared more towards doing something for others that has less than himself.
Eric never had the chance to complete his mission. He died as a result of a car accident the very next day, Valentines Day. I was very tempted to go through the items he collected to see if there was something that I wanted to hang onto. After some thought, I decided not to. In those bags were the things that Eric wanted to donate. It was his donation, not mine.
I had written a letter to Eric which was read by Fr. Dan Scheidt, at his funeral. I mentioned that he had been collecting items for St. Vincent’s. The students at Marian High School in Mishawaka decided to fulfill Eric’s commitment for him. They began collecting donations a few days after the funeral. At his Memorial Mass, a month later, the students carried hundreds of bags to the altar. I was so touched by this gesture. What a beautiful way to remember Eric. A truckload and a half of donations was given to SVDP on his behalf.
I decided that this would be Eric’s legacy, giving to those in need. To date, Eric’s Promise has raised some 65,500 pounds of clothing and household goods for St. Vincent de Paul. Last year (2007) was our most successful year, bringing in 27, 400 pounds.
The project which started out as a Lenten project in our area parochial schools, has grown, with several public high schools and grade schools also participating. My colleagues at the Center for Hospice and Palliative Care have participated each year as well as many area churches. We invite any individuals or groups to participate.
I would be happy to speak to any groups who would like to participate in Eric’s Promise. Our kick-off is at Marian High School on February 6th and will conclude on Easter.
Please contact Judy Bradford at 251-4906 if you would like more information.
I’ve learned many lessons from Eric’s Promise, one of which at the very least is that life is precious and none of us know when our last day will be. So, live, laugh and love a little more and most of all, “try to be more giving.”
***Update: Read the South Bend Tribune's coverage of Eric's Promise here.