Tony Sodo would always say to his daughter, “God has a plan for you!” For many years, she did not know what this plan was, but then she heard a counselor who worked with pregnant mothers speak at Faith Bible Church in Lowell. In listening to the counselor speak, Moldenhauer knew that helping pregnant women was to be her mission.
She started looking for organizations that helped pregnant women where she could volunteer. In the beginning, Moldenhauer never felt that she was doing enough. Finally, she trained to be an advocate for a crisis pregnancy center in Northwest Indiana. For three years, she helped pregnant women who were turned away by their families or boyfriends for being pregnant and were left with no support system.
“My husband had cancer. Although the treatments caused the cancer to go into remission, the treatments also made it more difficult for us to have children of our own. It would break my heart to see women struggling with their own pregnancy while I was trying to get pregnant myself. I felt more needed to be done to help these women. They needed a safe place to stay while they rebuilt their lives,” explains Moldenhauer. “I knew it would be a conflict of interest to continue as an advocate while pursuing my own endeavor. So, I reluctantly quit my volunteer position. I also resigned from a job I loved working as an accountant.”
Moldenhauer’s passion for wanting to provide pregnant women with a safe place to live would become Mommy’s Haven which she founded in 2012. Mommy’s Haven is a future residence for pregnant mothers in need. Currently, there is no maternity home in Lake County to serve adult pregnant mothers. Services would be offered to the mothers at no cost and all pregnant mothers in need would be welcome. An 18-24 month program would allow each resident and their child to recognize their own self-worth and prepare them to live an independent life.
Even before conducting her first fundraiser, Moldenhauer was already looking for the future home of Mommy’s Haven.
“There is an old Victorian home in downtown Lowell which was once a restaurant,” says Moldenhauer. “The restaurant had been closed for a number of years and I thought the house might be for sale. So, I knocked on the door and asked.”
Joshua Mauk answered the door and explained the house was not for sale.
“Most people might have left it at that,” says Mauk. “But, I was curious why she wanted our house. Tracie explained to me about her vision for Mommy’s Haven. As she told me about her passion for helping pregnant women in need, I just knew she had to meet my wife,” says Mauk with a laugh. Since then, Lauren Mauk has worked closely with Moldenhauer and serves as the Treasurer for Mommy’s Haven.
The main focus for Mommy’s Haven has been to raise money for their future maternity home.
“We had our first big fundraiser last October. Since we decided we would only do the one event that year, we threw everything into it. We had a car show, bike run, kids’ games, hay rides and bounce houses. We even had a hot air balloon that patrons could ride in,” says Lauren Mauk. “We did not know how big the event would be. For example, we only had 2 cars that pre-registered for the car show. That morning, even before the event started, we had over one hundred cars come out to be a part of it. It was wonderful to see all the support,” adds Lauren Mauk.
The next fundraiser Mommy’s Haven has planned is “Spring into New Life”, a dinner to be held Saturday, April 18th from 5:30 pm to 11:00 pm at St. Matthias Hall in Crown Point. The evening will feature live music from “The Relics”, dancing, a photo booth, prize baskets and more.
“We have raised $40,000 of our $160,000 goal so we are making great progress. Fundraisers like this not only provide us with a wonderful opportunity to raise funds, but to also spread the word as to what we are hoping to accomplish,” explains Moldenhauer.
“Even before we have a building, there are many ways for people to get involved,” says Moldenhauer. “We always need volunteers for fundraisers. We collect donations of baby clothes and toys to give to pregnant mothers. We are also always adding to our resource list of people to provide services in the future. If you have the time, we will put you to work!” says Moldenhauer with a smile.
While pursuing her passion for helping pregnant mothers, Moldenhauer has become a mother herself. She and her husband have been raising a foster child they are hoping to adopt soon. Moldenhauer is also pregnant with a child of her own.
For more information about Mommy’s Haven, please visit MommysHaven.org or you can call Tracie Moldenhauer directly at (219) 552-4819.