Annual luncheon honors heritage of Mary Allison

Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Fillmore Elementary School Principal Debby Steffy reads a heartfelt thank you note from a student.
Courtesy photo

Mary Allison’s memorial to her daughter Molly which began more than 125 years ago continues to do good things for the students of Putnam County.

Every year each of the eight Putnam County elementary schools receive a sum of $1,000 from the Mary Allison Children’s Trust Fund. Teachers and counselors at each school determine how the money is spent. It can be used for any purpose as long as it benefits the students of their school.

The fund provides financial assistance toward health care, education and welfare of the students.

Each fall school administrators, trust funds members and board members come together at a luncheon sponsored by Wabash Capital and Tri-County Bank & Trust Co. at the Area 30 Ivy Gallery to celebrate the success of the fund with lunch prepared by the Culinary Arts Class.

“It is in this room that the real stories of what the trust fund means are told by the people who get to see and live the experience,” Mary Allison Children’s Trust Board President Jim Jackson said. “It may seem like a small thing — a pair of glasses, a filled prescription, fees for a field trip or lunch — but it is very large to a child and his or her family.”

Administrators from the schools often tell their own stories during the luncheon.

Megan Ward of Deer Meadow Primary School explains the use of the Calming Sensory Kits.

“This is such a helpful resource to the students,” Megan Ward, Deer Meadow and Ridpath primary schools counselor, said.

Ms. Ward was awarded a grant from the Trust for Calming Sensory Kits for the School for the 2016-17 second semester. She gave a demonstration of the how the kits assist students who may have anxiety or become agitated without having to leave the room. Grant applications were distributed to the schools for the 2017-18 first-semester grant cycle.

Fillmore Elementary Principal Debby Steffy read to the group a heartfelt thank you note from a student who was able to participate in soccer because of the Mary Allison Fund.

“Because of the fund the student was able to be a part of a team, learn new skills and feel valued by her community,”continued Steffy.

The fund doesn’t just help individual children but entire families. In the past monies have been used for heating bills, medications and even in providing clothing for a family in time of disaster.

Bainbridge Elementary Principal Rodney Simpson summed up the effects of the fund stating. “How grateful the staff and students were to Mary Allison because we are able to fulfill needs for children that we may not otherwise be able to fill.”

The orphan home was originally created by Mary Allison following the deaths of her grandchild and daughter in 1887 and 1888. During this era children who had no home were usually sent to work on the County Farm.

As a memorial to her daughter, Mary Allison created a corporation to manage “The Putnam County Orphans’ Home,” which opened with seven children living in it.

The institution was housed in several locations over time eventually ending up in 1922 in the old Lockridge home on West Columbia Street in Greencastle. It soon became known as the Allison House.

Although the residence no longer houses children, the legacy of the Mary Allison’s trust continues to this day through the current program of providing each elementary school with funds to help children of Putnam County. As elementary students are the main focus of the board of directors, they also assist with pre-K, middle school and high school needs throughout the county.

The goal of the board of directors is to provide funding necessary to continue the heritage of Mary Allison in improving the lives of the children in Putnam County.

President Jackson announced this year the new project grants available to all schools and administrations. Each semester the schools have the opportunity to apply for a project grant that will benefit the students and the schools from $100 to $2,500. All applications received will be reviewed by the Grant Committee and the chosen project will be announced to the community.

Past recipients Hygiene Kits at Tzouanakis and Calming Sensory Kits at Deer Meadow.

Money is raised through contributions and an annual golf outing. Wabash Capital and Terre Haute Savings Bank are the financial overseers of the trust.

Trust Patrons include Wabash Capital, Tri-County Bank & Trust Co., Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church, Jim Jackson, Pearl’s Landscaping, Wal-Mart Distribution, Greencastle Rotary Club, HMSB Insurance.

Trust Partners are York Automotive, JoAnn Linn, Delta Theta Tau Sorority and Greencastle Kiwanis Club.

Contributions to the Mary Allison Children’s Trust may be mailed to Treasurer Ginger Scott at P.O. Box 369, Greencastle, IN 46135.

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