St. John's College student Eric Fricke attended an ice cream social in September held by the Caritas Society, a group founded at the Annapolis college more than 40 years ago that assists students with financial hardships. At the time, Fricke attended solely for the free ice cream; he couldn't have imagined the group helping him through hardship.
But then the junior from Arizona said he had a series of "unfortunate economic times," stemming in part from his family's inability to sell their home. Though he listened to the group convey its purpose during the social, he never spoke to it about his problems. He was later surprised the group sent him an email announcing it would assist him with a grant for this year.
"I knew students who had been helped, and I found out that I, too, could benefit from their generosity," said Fricke.
This year the group has given out about $35,000 in grants to more than a dozen students, said Nancy Eagle Lindley, president of the Caritas Society board of directors. The group holds several on-campus events to reach out to the St. John's community, including a luncheon on Oct. 18 and a fundraiser next month.