Local volunteer keeping high hopes after car stolen

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- South Bend volunteer Clara Ross is a gift that keeps on giving.

Starting up her own organization in January called Homes for Tracy, she spends most of her time helping finding food, clothing, homes and jobs to homeless community members in need.

“My philosophy is, be the change you want to see,” Ross said. “It’s about helping people go to the next step. All I am truly is a launching pad, I’m not a horse you can ride, I go along with you in your Journey to go to the next step to go from homelessness to being housed. It’s as simple as that.”

Ross was once in their same shoes, so anything she can do to get them back on their feet means the world to her.

Wednesday morning, her vehicle that helps her get around town to transport donated goods was broken into and stolen in just a blink of an eye.

“I started up my car this morning and then I went into the house to get my purse, and then when I came back my car was gone,” Ross said. “And I was thinking to myself who steals a car that has things for homeless people in it? It had socks, it had bread, it had snacks, who does that?”

Unfortunately, these kinds of incidents aren’t uncommon in the area.

“Car break ins and motor vehicle thefts are common unfortunately in South Bend and a lot of times more often than not, it’s a crime of opportunity,” South Bend Police Department Media Liaison Christine Karsten said.

While it’s an all-year-round issue, the colder winter months appear to show more signs of it happening.

“From November 9th until today, so we’re looking at a one-month period, we had about 67 motor vehicle thefts. So, you’re looking at on average about 2 vehicles stolen in south bend in one-month time, so I think that kind of says it right there,” Karsten said.

Officials said that there are many things you can do to prevent car thief’s from breaking into your vehicle.

“We don’t want anybody to become a victim, so we just ask that people are always locking their vehicles even though it’s getting colder, we ask that you don’t leave your car running while unattended. We ask that you can to park in a garage, we know a lot of times that’s not possible so maybe park in a well light area,” Karsten said.

While the theft is devastating, Ross is looking the other way.

“I’m one of those people that believe in a glass is half full and not half empty, so I have to think of it like this. It makes me pray for the person who did it because now they’re on my radar, no one been praying for them, no one is uplifting them, so I have no anger or animosity towards them, my heart actually goes out to them,” Ross said.

Ross is still without a vehicle and because of her vehicle being crashed, is left with a steep towing and repair bill. If you want to help her out, you can donate through one of her payment accounts listed below.

Venmo: @Home4Tracy

CashApp: $ClaraJRoss

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