04/16/12  In response to their mission’s call to serve, Ancilla College faculty, staff, and students visited the Sojourner Truth House in Gary on Monday, March 26, volunteering their services for the day.

Eight representatives of Ancilla College worked on four separate projects, including cleaning closets, stacking donations on shelves, sorting clothing donations, and scrubbing a donation of flip flops.

“We made a small dent in the projects that need to be done at Sojourner Truth, but our own spirits were lifted by our ability to give and participate for only a short time in the life of the Sojourner Truth House,” said Sr. Carleen Wrasman, PHJC and Coordinator of Mission Integration. “The trip by students, faculty, and staff opened our eyes to some of the realities of Gary. We marveled at the dedication of those who work each day at Sojourner Truth showing respect for the women and children who need help at this time in their lives.”

The Sojourner Truth House is a community resource and day shelter for homeless and at-risk women and was founded in 1997 by members of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, the same religious order that founded Ancilla.  It was created to help serve the needs of the underserved in the Gary area, providing food, shelter, clothing, and services to the poor and needy.

Marsha Kratzchmar, one of the students who volunteered during Ancilla’s Spring Break, reflected on the visit. “I learned that for places like Sojourner Truth to operate, they need compassionate people who are willing to donate their time, money and material items.  I have also learned that I would like to continue volunteering my time to places where people are in need of help.  I would also like to have my children become involved in volunteering their time so that they may appreciate the life they have and hopefully they will feel as rewarded as I did today.”

Another Ancilla student, Rachel Hansen, discussed her experience helping at the shelter. “I learned how much time and energy it takes to run a place like the Sojourner Truth House.  I also learned about all the things that Sojourner Truth does for its community.  Helping other people makes me feel good. I am very glad that I chose to attend.”

Ancilla College is a Catholic, two-year, co-educational, liberal arts college in Donaldson, Indiana, sponsored by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ.  www.ancilla.edu

Picture:  First row (L-R):   Rachel Hansen, Marsha Kratzchmar, Diana Caldwell, Sister Carleen WrasmanSecond row (L-R):  Sister Henrietta Okeke, Ray Girres, Todd Zeltwanger, Sam Soliman