LEWISTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Forty-six students from Saint Anselm College began walking a long walk to school on Saturday.

They call the 130-mile trek, "The Road For Hope." Their mission is to raise funds for nine charities: Four from Maine and five from New Hampshire.


Through heat, rain, and the solar eclipse, the college students began their eight-day journey in Lewiston, Maine on Saturday, August 19, 2017, at 8:00 A.M., the walk will take them through Gray, Standish, Waterboro and Sanford. On the fifth day, they cross the border into New Hampshire and will trek through the solar eclipse.

"We really believe that every footstep makes a difference," the students said.


The group on "The Road For Hope" represents eight states: Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Virginia. "Saint Anselm students apply for the privilege to walk The Road for Hope," and according to Jenna Baker, student leader and Class of 2018 from Scituate, Massachusetts, "a record number of applicants were considered this year.

According to Saint Anselm College website, the long walk was originated by Seamus Griesbach, a Maine native, and Saint Anselm College alumnus. (now Father Griesbach of the Portland Diocese), who chose to open the year at school by walking – alone – on a route that is now a 19-year tradition. "The Road For Hope,” is not only raising money for the charities it's also about the journey we're taking with us, they said.


Maine non-profits include Community Concepts of Lewiston, Good Shepherd Food Bank of Auburn, York County Shelter Program of Alfred, and Birthline/Catholic Charities of Portland. In New Hampshire, the walk benefits Kid's Café of Manchester, the Rochester Recreation Arena and Youth Services, Candia Moore School Drug Awareness Program, Upreach Therapeutic Riding Center of Goffstown, and St. Charles Children's Home of Rochester.

"During the next eight days, participants will hear from representatives of the various agencies receiving donations from the Road For Hope. on Sunday, August 20, 2017, the group heard from a representative of Birthline, a program of the Diocese of Portland. Birthline offers free, self-administered pregnancy testing, life-affirming alternatives to abortion, assistance finding resources, and emotional support so mothers can carry their babies to term with care, grace, and courage, according to the program blog.

The students will average 15-miles until they complete "The Road For Hope" walk on day eight...next Saturday, August 26, 2017.