Altrusa International, Inc., a worldwide service organization, is committed to promoting literacy in children. Toward this end, the local Altrusa club has sponsored for the past six Octobers a money-making project called Loving Spoonsful.
For the price of a $10 meal ticket, luncheon-goers are offered the opportunity to “sample a spoonful” of each of 70-plus recipes that appear in a souvenir cookbook. The foods are provided by local Altrusans and several “Friends of Altrusa.”
This biggest fundraiser of the local Altrusa club’s year gives away its entire proceeds. In recent years, major shares of the proceeds have funded programs promoting literacy for the schoolchildren of Fayette County, first in one public school district, then the next year in the other. In 2015, Loving Spoonsful contributed $1,384 to a reading program in the Miami Trace Elementary School.
One year later, Altrusans heard an update on how the money had been put to exceptionally good use when two MTES kindergarten teachers, Jennifer Robertson and Hannah Wilson, presented the October 2016 meeting’s program. Mrs. Robertson, with a Master’s in the Art of Teaching from Mt. St. Joseph in Cincinnati, shared that Miami Trace had put together a program called “One Book, One School.” “The Mouse and the Motorcycle,” a book by Beverly Cleary, was purchased for everyone in the building.
By “everyone,” that’s exactly what Mrs. Robertson meant: The principals, secretaries, custodial and kitchen staff, counselors, teachers and aides, and of course students all received their own copy of the book. The money from Altrusa allowed over 2,000 books to be purchased and distributed. Each day during lunch, principal Jeff Conroy would announce to the students a trivia question about something that had happened in the book. Students enthusiastically participated in discussing the activities of Ralph Mouse, the lead character in the story.
Mrs. Wilson, presently working toward her Master’s Degree at Ashland University, went on to describe how staff members created many mouse themes and crafts, and even took turns wearing a mouse costume. They organized a book swap, and also brought scooters into the gym to represent the motorcycle ridden by Ralph Mouse. The project culminated in a “Literacy Night” in which over 300 students and parents took part. It was such a success that the kindergarten teachers have decided to host two literacy nights during the current school year, and Altrusans will be invited as guests.
Altrusa’s 2016 Loving Spoonsful luncheon again appears to have brought in over $3,000. After dedicating $500 to one of Altrusa’s two annual $500 scholarships, the club will divide the remainder between the Commission on Aging’s Meals on Wheels—the COA has always been gracious in providing the venue for the fundraiser—and to this year’s new recipient: the Fayette County Alternative School.
In helping purchase much-needed updates for the library of this school (a joint project of the two public school systems and the Fayette County Probate/Juvenile Court), Altrusa will continue to promote literacy in local children.