Student Spotlight: Jessica Anker

A Small “Thank You” Can Really Change Your Day

Jessica Anker has always loved to help others. As a high school student, she started volunteering her time to people in need, and for nearly 10 years she has been helping put together food baskets for the hungry around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

At an early age, Jessica learned the importance of giving back to the community and helping others in need. “My dad was a trash hauler and had to go on disability,” she says. “It wasn’t easy. I have two other siblings. My parents didn’t have a college education. My mom worked really hard to help make ends meet.”

Jessica understands the struggles people can face and is happy to help others. “So many people are struggling to put food on the table, especially in today’s economy,” she said. “Helping the less fortunate reminds me of how blessed I am and allows me to appreciate the little things that you can easily take for granted.”

Around the holidays, Jessica always makes time to help the local Salvation Army and Rotary Club put together and distribute food baskets for the hungry during Christmas. She also helps the Salvation Army with its local Coats for Kids drive by collecting gently used or new winter coats to keep kids warm during these cold winter months.

Last month, Jessica  helped serve Thanksgiving dinner for nearly 800 homeless people through the Salvation Army. “The look on the faces of the people we help just says it all,” she says. “I don’t need anything more!”

“It simply warms my heart to put a smile on someone’s face. A small ‘thank you’ from a mom, dad, or child can really change your day!”

In addition to volunteering, Jessica is busy earning her bachelor’s degree in early childhood development from Purdue Global—and would be the second in her family to earn a college degree. Her goal is to be a teacher and help at-risk children. Jessica also works as a nanny for her 2-year-old nephew.