Tri Kappa, Trustees Get With The Times Again to Help Kids

(The Times photo courtesy of Betsy Reason)
Theresa Caldwell (left), who will take office in January as the new Noblesville Township Trustee, and new Red Stocking Fund chairperson Kim Claussen, along with current Trustee Tom Kenley, invite the community to donate to this year’s Tri Kappa’s Red Stocking Fund.

Every year near the holidays, Tri Kappa sorority asks us at The Times newspaper to partner up in the promotion of the Beta Epsilon chapter’s annual Red Stocking Fund drive.

And every year, I ask the drive’s coordinator, along with Noblesville Township Trustee Tom Kenley, or this year’s incoming Trustee Theresa Caldwell, to put on their Christmas red and Santa hats to snap a photo to promote the drive.

We here at The Times are always glad to help with this 17th annual fundraiser, which kicked off in November in The Times.

Money raised will ensure the children of Noblesville have shoes, clothing, school supplies, and shelter as well as medicines and other necessities. In 2021, more than 100 students and their families were assisted.

If you see a Tri Kappa, be sure to thank the Tri Kappas for all that they do for our community.

Tri Kappa distributes 100 percent of the money donated to the school children of Noblesville through Noblesville Schools and Noblesville Township Trustee Office. The Trustee Office, a Tri Kappa partner, distributes the funds throughout the year to the school children of Noblesville.

“One-hundred percent of your contributions go to a worthy cause,” said Township Trustee Tom Kenley, who has served in the position since 2015 and whose first task is helping the needy in Noblesville Township. Kenley retires at the end of this month.

“Noblesville Township has a long history of managing the Red Stocking and I hope the relationship will continue,” Kenley said.

Tri Kappa doesn’t control how the Township distributes the funds.

“The funds are used to sponsor two free shoe and clothing events annually for needy families. We also use the funds to support special circumstances for Noblesville children where use of taxpayer dollars are not necessarily allowed. I’m certain incoming Trustee Theresa Caldwell will continue in that tradition,” he said.

“The fund is a great asset to our office,” Kenley said. “Please donate if you can.”

Every year since the fund drive’s beginning, Tri Kappa has met or surpassed its $10,000 fundraising goal.

During its first year, in 2006, the Red Stocking Fund began with 157 donors, raising $11,778.

Last holiday season, more than $13,500 was raised and then used throughout the year for the students of the Noblesville community who are less fortunate. In the past 17 years, more than $204,500 has been raised to support this Community Fundraiser.

The Red Stocking Fund provides the more than 100 children with shoes from Shoe Carnival and clothes from Kohl’s.The bottom line is without this money, we would not be able to do those two events,” Caldwell said.

“We have a lot of families who can get by but might need a little extra help with school supplies, clothes, or shoes. The Tri Kappa funds make it possible for families to have new back-to-school clothes and shoes that might not otherwise be able to get those items,” she said.

Caldwell, currently deputy trustee and who has been part of the team since 2013, has enjoyed working with Tri Kappa over the past several years. “I hope as the new Trustee we can continue to work together. Our office is always here to help Tri Kappa in any way we can, and I look forward to continuing to provide great programs for the Noblesville community.”

She said, “Programs like this are going to become more important to families as the cost-of-living continues to rise. For some families, their (monthly) rent has either doubled in the last year or increased by $300 to $500. Duke Energy has increased their cost to customers by at least 16 percent. Then throw in the cost of groceries and gas on top of all that. Many families are needing extra help right now. I hope not just Tri Kappa but the people that donate to the Red Stocking see how important this project is.”

Tom Kenley

Each Wednesday, names of donors and their messages are printed in The Times.

“I think it’s a special way for people to help their community, and it’s fun for people to see their names in the newspaper.” said Kim Claussen, who has been a Tri Kappa for 25 years and who took over the Red Stocking Fund in 2022 from Mary Jane Polsgrove and Anita Beck.

“Giving back to the community is important to me,” she said. Claussen graduated from Noblesville High School and has lived in Noblesville for 40 years. The former Noblesville Schools teacher has a husband, Marc, and children, Kyle, Laura, Cooper, Nick and Caroline.

Polsgrove in 2017 took over the Red Stocking Fund with Beck, a longtime co-chairman. Pam Lehman, a retired athletic secretary for Noblesville Schools for 23 years, is the former longtime co-chairperson who with her husband Lynn Lehman, moved to Noblesville in 1984 and supported the fund since its beginning in 2006. She was involved 2011-17. I remember what Pam Lehman once told me: “I think when you work in a school setting all your career, you care about the paths the students travel. You see the hardships some of them face everyday.”

The original founder of the Red Stocking Fund, Vicki Smith, is a former member of Tri Kappa.

Beck, a Tri Kappa member, took the reins from Smith when she stepped down. Beck, a former preschool teacher of 15 years for the Noblesville First United Methodist Church, loves to volunteer but retired from Red Stocking co-chairman duties following the 2021 Red Stocking season.

So this is how the fund drive works. Each donor completes a donation form that’s published in The Times and mails with the form a check to Noblesville Red Stocking Fund. With each donation, donors are invited to submit a greeting or message that will be published in The Times, along with the donor’s name. The amount donated is not published.

So, take a look. It’s always fun to read all of the donor names and each of the greetings as the donations come in and are published each Wednesday in The Times.

The Beta Epsilon chapter of Tri Kappa, celebrating its 107th year, is busy year-round raising funds and helping the community.

The chapter sold cheeseballs during December First Friday on the Courthouse Square and annually in March sells handmade chocolate and peanut butter Easter eggs. And in the fall annually sells an array of nuts, which recently were delivered in time for the holidays. This year, Tri Kappa also had its first Bingo fundraiser in April at the Noblesville Moose. “We’re doing that again in the spring,” Claussen said. “It was very successful for us.”

Every year since my daughter was born, through 2017, we attended Tri  Kappa’s former Breakfast with Santa on the first Saturday of December. Tri Kappa member Moffett Craig always played Mrs. Claus, who read stories and played games with the kids. Tri Kappa members sang Christmas carols.

Thanks to all of these fundraisers, the Noblesville chapter, through the years, has awarded more than $200,000 in scholarships to deserving Noblesville students.

For all of these reasons, The Times newspaper is glad to help Tri Kappa reach its goals.

Contact Betsy Reason at