Brooke Huss: What Spring Break Canton Service Trip Meant to Her


Brooke Huss, Guest Writer, Online Tritonian

For the 12th time Campus Minister Daniel Kriegl took NDA students to Canton, Mississippi, for a spring break mission/service trip. One of the students, Brooke Huss, details events of the trip and the impact it had on her life.  Enjoy!

At the beginning of my trip to Mississippi, I wasn’t sure what to feel or what to expect. A couple of hours into the first car ride I just wanted to go home. I was so bored and that’s what I feared the trip would be, but I was so wrong. 

On the first day riding to the hotel, Mr. Kriegl and Mrs. (Jean) Healy sat in the front two seats, while Barbara Inciarte and Cody Huss sat in the middle; Olivia Prosser, Addie Weiss and I all sat squished together in the back. The car ride felt like a million years, and for the first couple of hours the kids in the car played online Uno. I won because I’m just built differently. 

After we finished playing, most of us fell asleep in the car since it was very boring. Finally, we reached the hotel where we girls had to share a room. The next day we reached Canton, Mississippi, after a long nine-hour drive. 

When we started driving into Canton, I realized that the buildings there were very run down and falling apart. When I saw that, my first thought about this trip changed into “I want to help these people.” 

I need to help these people. I want to make a difference in people’s lives. Just knowing how fortunate my family is to have running water, money for food, clothes, everything you need to survive–and then seeing how some of these people don’t have as much as I do–all this made me feel like I’m fortunate. 

On the first day of work, Gavin Forbes, Addi, Olivia, Barbara, Anthony Lamm, Mrs. Healy, Mr. Bill Hawley, John (from MadCAAP), Fr. Jordan and I all worked on a porch for a woman named Carla. She is the daughter of a woman named Pearl, or Grandma Pearl, as some of us called her. 

Pearl was a woman helped years ago by one of the past groups from NDA.  She was a very remarkable woman, and even though she was in deep poverty, she seemed to see the good in everything and see God in everything. 

On our break, Father Jordan told us to come and meet Pearl since she was sitting on her porch. One by one she hugged all of us, saying how thankful she was that we could help her, that someone was that kind to help people who weren’t as fortunate. When she was done hugging all of us, she told us a horrible and unfortunate story about her deceased nephew.  When she told the story, I couldn’t comprehend a fraction of what she was going through because I have so many loving people in my life. 

Even though everyone she loved had died, she still found the good in life and had the ability to still praise God. Again, she’s just a very remarkable and brave woman. 

The other group was working on building garden beds so they could grow crops for the people at MadCAAP. For those of you who don’t know what MadCAAP is, it’s a program that has continued to expand over the past 37 years. They seek to meet the immediate needs and foster hope in the lives they serve. MadCAAP has approximately 2,000 client families that they serve. They help those who live a life of poverty. 

Their client families receive services through Food Pantry, Helping Hands Garden, Educational Classes, Clothing Closet, Housing Repair, and Emergency Assistance programs. ​That NDA team consisted of Mr. Kriegl, Tristan Forbes, Bryce Hawley, Conner Gilson, Izak Beranek, Isaac Nowak, Lucas Pavlik and Alex Healy. These guys worked so hard on the garden beds that they got an extremely bad sunburn, but they pulled through the pain. 

The next day we all went to the garden to help finish up the beds, and it was so hot out there that they turned on a sprinkler. The guys kept spraying sunscreen on themselves because they didn’t want to get even more sunburn. 

It was funny because most of the guys who were making the flower beds had to reduce them because they hadn’t listened to instructions. John, after the girl’s first bed was made, said that it was the best one out of all the ones there. That was awesome knowing that the girls were finally better at one thing than the guys. 

Senior Isaac Nowak said, “When we were building the garden beds, even though we screwed up a bunch, Cody, Izak and I were able to get a lot of beds done in a short time. Just the feeling of completing this, knowing that this will help those who need food, being able to help them get their food, is a powerful feeling.” 

This is what most people thought on the trip, even though we were only there for a week, and we did little work that could really make a big impact on people’s lives.