Mary Allison Children's Trust continues tradition of giving

Wednesday, September 23, 2009
School representatives from Putnam County received money from the Mary Allison Children's Trust during a luncheon sponsored by Wabash Capital and First National Bank. Pictured here are board members, school representatives and trust patrons to the fund.

GREENCASTLE -- Since 1896, local Putnam County children have benefited from new eyeglasses, shoes, medicine and other needed items made possible through the Mary Allison Children Trust. And it's no different today.

Students at all nine county schools receive help from the fund. Sometimes it's clothing or glasses, often it's medicine; it all depends on the circumstances.

On Thursday, school representatives, Mary Allison Fund board members and contributors to the program came together for lunch at Area 30 and talked about the fund and its legacy.

Christy Schmeckebier, Cloverdale Elementary School guidance counselor, told the group she was able to provide clothing for a family who had to leave their home because of an emergency situation.

"This family had to leave quickly and came away without any clothing. I was able to provide them with clothes with money from Mary Allison," said Schmeckebier.

"We were able to provide clothing to a family and glasses for kids already this year," said Brad Hayes, Fillmore Elementary Principal.

Ridpath Principal Janice True said the Mary Allison money at her school has gone to pay for gym shoes.

"We buy a lot of gym shoes. We also make sure kids have warm enough clothes in the winter," said True.

The Mary Allison Children's Trust came about from the sale of the Mary Allison Children's Home established in 1912 to house disadvantaged children.

The home was closed due the declining number of Putnam County children and teenagers residing at the orphanage. It was sold in the mid-1980 and the trust was created.

This fund provides financial assistance toward health care, education and welfare for underprivileged children in Putnam County when all other resources have been exhausted.

A sum of $1,000 is given annually to each of the nine Putnam County elementary schools. Teachers and counselors at each school determine how the money is spent on an immediate basis.

The funds are unrestricted, meaning school officials can use them for any purpose, as long as it benefits the students.

Deer Meadow Principal Gwen Morris talked about how fortunate the schools are to have these funds.

"We are so lucky to have this fund. There are so few schools that have an asset like this. It is really generous to allow us to choose how to spend the money and not have strict guidelines," said Morris.

"It's been interesting seeing people taking care of people out of the goodness of their hearts. This legacy is pretty amazing," said Dan TeGrotenhuis, principal at Tzouanakis Intermediate School.

He added that a large percent of their fund money goes to provide medicine and healthcare for children.

Over the years, board members of the trust estimate that it financially assists at least 10 children from each county elementary school each year, totaling 100 children each year.

All the participants at Thursday's event agreed they are seeing more need and seeing it earlier in the year.

School staff thanked the trust for the help they provide.

"You are the ones who make this happen," stated Scott Spencer, new principal of Roachdale Elementary. "Helen Blubaum (who retired last year) told me to be sure and put this lunch on my calendar. She told me how important this trust is to our school."

Members of the Mary Allison Children's Trust board are Ginger Scott, Joe Ferguson, Lucy Wieland, Jim Jackson, Carol Emery, Darren Hughes, Mike Goss, Cliff Higgerson and Matt Headley.

Wabash Capital and First National Bank sponsored the lunch. They are the financial overseers of the trust.

Those attending the lunch were Don Edwards, Wabash Capital; Mark Boswell, First Financial Bank; Donna Houser, Duke Energy; Brent McColgin, Tri County Bank & Trust; Barb South, The Waters of Greencastle; Barbara Rice, Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church; Jeanie Kirman, First National Bank; Christy Schmeckebier, Cloverdale Elementary School; Gwen Morris, Deer Meadow Primary School; Scott Spencer, Roachdale Elementary School; Dan TeGrotenhuis, Tzouanakis Elementary School; Debbie Steffy, Central Elementary School; Kristie McClamroch, Bainbridge Elementary; Janis True, Ridpath Primary School; and Mary Allison Trust Fund Board members Jackson, Scott, Emery, Wieland, Hughes, Goss and Ferguson.

Contributions to the Mary Allison Children's Trust can be mailed to Wabash Capital, 1003 Millpond Lane, Suite A, Greencastle, 46135. Donations should be mailed care of treasurer Ginger Scott.

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