DONALDSON — For the second straight year, the Ancilla College softball team put its Christmas spirit to work by helping the homeless.
The Lady Chargers kept up their tradition by allowing fans to donate socks at all home softball games in the fall and spring, in place of paying admission. Over 200 pair of socks were collected and donated to Hope Rescue Mission in South Bend. The team went one step further this year.
“The socks were great,” said Ancilla coach Scott Reese, “but we wanted to do a little more.”
And they did. Through the combination of an anonymous donation and fundraising that the team has been doing throughout the fall for the program, the 16-member team got together and purchased gifts for all 26 children at the mission.
“Seeing the look on the children’s faces when they saw the gifts that they were receiving melted my heart,” said sophomore Rohni Beck.
The day started with a trip to Wal-Mart on the south side of South Bend, where a pair of players were given $25 and the name, age and gender of the children for whom they were purchasing. They spent over an hour searching for the right gifts. Wal-Mart also generously donated towards Hope Rescue Mission.
After making their purchases the team hopped over to Sweet Frog Premium Frozen Yogurt, who opened up their store to the team to give them room to wrap the gifts.
“Sweet Frog was a fantastic transition place for us,” said Reese. “I wasn’t sure what how we were going to prepare the gifts for delivery, but they were so generous to us in our efforts.”
Added to each set of gifts was a coupon for a free pretzel from Ben’s Soft Pretzels that were donated to the cause.
After the wrapping party was complete, the Chargers headed over to the mission, where they received a tour of the facility and much more while handing out the gifts as they reached each child’s floor. At many stops along the way, they were able to interact with the children and learn their stories and the purpose of Hope Rescue Mission.
When the day was complete, the team had some time for reflection.
“It was hard to actually see all the people that were struggling, but it was nice to see that they were all like a family,” said Courtney Clark.
“I learned to appreciate others,” Brianna McClellan said.
“Giving a present was more than just another gift, it was bringing hope and joy to the kids,” said Shelby McConnell.
“We should never take our life for granted,” stated Kayla Dell, “and always be thankful for what we have.”
“It was not only a time to help others, but help ourselves find who we really are and what we should appreciate,” echoed sophomore Kayleigh Schroeder.