Karen Pulte, founding member of the International Samaritan Board of Directors, was honored for her gift that funded its new headquarters at 803 N. Main Street, Ann Arbor. The new headquarters was dedicated on Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014. The event included the unveiling of a plaque in honor of Ms. Pulte, a blessing of the facility, and musical selections performed by the Ann Arbor Pioneer High School Chorale Chamber Choir.
“I think that International Samaritan is one of the most worthy organizations,” said Ms. Pulte. “I know that every penny donated to this organization goes to the cause. I think the hardest part about this organization’s mission is trying to convince people of the need in other countries, because a lot of people look around and think that the need is here, but they don’t understand how devastating it is in these garbage dump cities.
“When a school closes here, they just go to another school. If a clinic closes here, you just go to another clinic. If a school closes in any of the places where we do work, it’s over, because there is only one school, one nursery, or one medical facility. That’s something that people just don’t understand.”
Ms. Pulte was particularly concerned that the organization’s cramped facilities limited its ability to grow and accommodate its expanding volunteer corps.
“We could see that they definitely outgrew the other building, which, in my mind is a good thing; that means that we’re expanding and people are getting our message and want to help. I want to make the people who are donating all their time and energy to be able to work in a nice environment.”
The move to a large facility retains the warmth of a residential house, reinforcing the family culture of International Samaritan, as well as sufficient space for staff and volunteers to expand, noted Fr. Donald Vettese, president and founder of International Samaritan.
“This move to a larger building represents a milestone for International Samaritan, which is celebrating its 20th year of helping to build communities for people living in garbage dumps in developing countries, thanks to the donation of one of our founding board members, Karen Pulte.
“Karen Pulte has not only been an active board member and generous donor, she has also contributed with her hands and heart in service trips to our mission communities. We are extremely grateful for her dedication and generosity.
“We are particularly pleased to have an opportunity to remain in the heart of Ann Arbor, a vital academic community that helps our mission with youthful energy, intellectual spirit, and humanitarian zeal. Our new home will offer staff and volunteers valuable space to more efficiently and effectively perform their services.”