By Regina Barbosa
This year, 177 Saint Mary’s University students volunteered around Winona, Minn., on national Make a Difference Day.
“Make a Difference Day” is a national day of helping others that was created by USA WEEKEND magazine. It is held on the fourth Saturday of every October. This is SMU’s fifth year proudly joining the millions of people throughout the nation who are volunteering.
“This was our largest year for need. We had 58 organizations contact us,” said Co-Director of Campus Ministry Chris McClead. Students went out in various groups and did everything from cleaning creeks to helping the elderly and disabled, he said.
Co-President of Volunteer Mentors Jacinta Jude helped organize the volunteer day at SMU. She worked with a group that helped clean up the Winona Visitors Center. “It’s fun to see the difference when you start to when you end, and how appreciative the people are,” she said.
Other groups went to Shives Creek and various homes in the neighborhood. The students did a variety of activities including raking leaves, cleaning behind refrigerators, putting in storm windows and moving furniture. The students put in over 530 volunteer hours combined.
“We try to engage the larger community of Saint Mary’s in service to the residents of Winona,” said McClead. The Office of Campus Ministry and Volunteer Mentors also organize Spruce Up Winona to be held on April 20 and the freshman volunteer day, which was held on Sept. 1.
“To create a positive relationship and to help achieve something simple does feel good and that is the difference that is made,” said McClead. It’s also a great opportunity to share in our Lasallian Catholic mission, he said.