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March is Women’s History Month, a time to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of women throughout history. On March 8th, International Women’s Day is celebrated worldwide to acknowledge the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. As an organization committed to providing shelter and support to those experiencing homelessness, Interfaith Community PADS understands the importance of recognizing the women who have contributed to our mission today and throughout our history. As we celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, we take this opportunity to honor the women who have made a significant impact on our organization and the community we serve.

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. (Proverbs 31:30)

ICPADS Founders: Dorothy Miller and Nancy Bracken

The history of Interfaith Community PADS can be traced back to the efforts of two women, Dorothy Miller and Nancy Bracken. These two women were members of First Presbyterian Church in Michigan City and were keenly aware of the growing population of people experiencing homelessness in the downtown area. They recognized the need for a shelter and began researching ways to make it a reality.

During their research, they came across a PADS program in DuPage County, Illinois, and realized they could create something similar in Michigan City. They set out to create a program that would allow churches to donate their spaces, volunteers to man the sites, and donors to contribute money for shelter operations. This model worked for 18 years, providing shelter and support to those in need.

The efforts of Dorothy and Nancy were instrumental in the creation of an organization that has served hundreds of homeless individuals over the years, and continues to do so today. Their legacy continues to inspire and motivate the volunteers and staff who carry on the mission of ICPADS.

The Ongoing Work of Women at ICPADS

Throughout our history, women have continued to donate their time and talents to make our program run. Notably, when we began our women’s shelter in 2017, many women volunteers stepped forward. They saw the value in what we were doing and wanted to help local women and children who were experiencing homelessness. 

And women continue to support our mission today. For example: 

  • 6 out of 9 of our current board members are women (including our President, Treasurer, and Secretary)
  • 5 out of 6 of our Board Presidents have been women
  • 5 out of 8 of our current staff members are women
  • Countless women volunteer their time at our shelter

Whether it is donating money, dropping off food, preparing a meal, serving our guests, saying a prayer, or being a listening ear, the women of our community have had a great impact at the ICPADS shelter, past, present, and future. There are too many to name names, but if you are one of them, please accept our sincere gratitude.To all the women reading this–we would love it if you would share your time and talents with us too! If you are concerned about the homeless in our community and want to help out, you can learn about getting involved here and reach out to us with your questions here. Happy Women’s History Month to all!