GREENCASTLE, IN, -- Annually, each Putnam County elementary school receives cash grants of $1,000 to provide medical and educational assistance to any student who needs help. This money comes from the Mary Allison Children's Trust Fund.
"When all other resources have been exhausted, this fund provides for healthcare, education and welfare for underprivileged children in Putnam County. The funds are unrestricted, meaning school officials can use them for any purpose as long as it benefits the students," says Board President Jim Jackson. Community and school members came together recently for the annual Mary Allison Children's Fund luncheon sponsored by Wabash Capital and First National Bank. At this function school administrators and counselors share stories about how the fund helps children from their schools.
Students have been helped in a variety of ways since the start of the trust in 1992. Monies have been used to provide travel expenses for a child to get to an out-of-state hospital for a rare surgical procedure. In another case funds were used to remove disfiguring tattoos placed on a child by an abusive parent. In another instance clothing was purchased for a child and family members when their home burned. Most often monies have been used to pay for medical, dental or to purchase glasses for students.
"The funds are a great safety net that allows the school to purchase shoes and clothing to keep on hand," said Roachdale Elementary School Principal Scott Spencer. Dan Tegrotenhuis with Ridpath Elementary agreed with Spencer adding that he believed that clothing and school supplies seem to be the greatest need this year.
Tzouanakis Counselor Jan Evans explained how she had purchased a set of eye glasses for a student. "It was much more than just a pair of glasses to the student who realized just how important that the glasses were to their success in school. So much so that the glasses are left at school so nothing will happen to them," she said.
Reelsville Elementary Counselor Corey Brackney told the group, "In the Spring I purchased a special dress for a fifth grader for the mixer that would have not gotten to have one without this fund. The student was so appreciative that it was also worn at fifth grade graduation and the drama awards." Over the years, board members of the trust estimate that it financially assists at least 10 children from each county elementary school every year.
Funds come from the Mary Allison Trust set up following the closing of the orphan's home founded in 1896 by Putnam County resident Mary Allison. As a memorial to her daughter who died in 1888, Mary Allison created a corporation to manage The Putnam County Orphans' Home which opened with seven children living in the Allison home. The institution was housed in several locations over time eventually ending up in 1922 in the old Lockridge home on W. Columbia St. in Columbia. After decades of housing needy children the home finally closed in 1992.
Although the residence no longer housed children, the legacy of the Mary Allison Children's Trust Fund continues to this day through the current program of providing each elementary school with funds to help children in need. "What a wonderful tool," said Deer Meadow Principal Gwen Morris. Money is raised through contributions and an annual golf outing. Wabash Capital and First National Bank are the financial overseers of the Trust.
Monetary donations can be sent to the Mary Allison Children's Trust, P.O. Box 369, Greencastle, IN, 46135. For information about the trust call Jim Jackson 765-522-1000 or Ginger Scott at 765-655-2333 or email Ginger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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