History of the League
Since its inception in 1931 by a group of 18 young women, the Charity League of Martinsville and Henry County has sponsored a wide array children’s programs to promote growth and development of children throughout Martinsville and Henry County. One of the first projects after the League was organized was the establishment of the Dr. Samuel Newman Clinic. The clinic provided vaccinations as well as infant, pediatric, and maternity care to the community free of charge. League members would often drive patients to and from the clinic to receive care.
This tradition carried on and in the 40’s, League members created special committees to answer the needs created by World War II, rolling bandages, sewing clothing and donating blood. They also opened a thrift shop in 1948, which has since become the annual Bargain Fair.
In the 50’s, the League continued its presence in the community by manning the clinic, establishing a fund to defray hospital expenses, assisting the Health Department with monthly maternity clinics, and with the support of the Health Department, helped man a polio clinic to administer the vaccine to hundreds in the community.
During the 1960’s, the clinics continued, the League sponsored campers at Camp Lee Ford for Girls, established an emergency fund to give immediate assistance to families with children in need, and maintained an inventory of wheelchairs and crutches made available on a loan basis to those in need.
In the 70’s, the members of the League donated to the startup of the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program in Martinsville, helped establish the Easter Seal Speech and Hearing Clinic for Martinsville and Henry County, continued the sponsorship of campers at Camp Lee Ford, created the eye screening clinic, helped with the Girl’s Club, and began giving scholarships to high school seniors.
During the 1980’s, the League began a “Dial-a-Story” program with the local library, sponsored campers to Camp Easter Seal, continued participation in the Girl’s Club, began Kids on the Block, the Young Artists Gallery and Carnival of the Animals.
In the 1990’s members of the League continued their work with Kids on the Block, Carnival of the Animals, camp sponsorships, educational scholarships, and began a literacy program to read to children in the emergency room waiting room of the hospital and the Best Friends program at Martinsville Middle School.
The turn of the new millennium saw the continuation of the educational scholarship program, Missoula Theatre for Children, Carnival of the Animals, eye screenings, Young Artists Gallery, the donation of $50,000 to the Salvation Army for construction of a day care facility, partnerships with the Boys and Girls Club of Martinsville and Henry County, Success by Six, and the beginning of the “Not Me, Not Now” teen pregnancy awareness program.
In recent years, the League has continued to seek quality programing and support for our local community. Some of our favorite programs including the Missoula Theatre for Children, a partnership with Piedmont Arts, our annual Bargain Fair, and thousands of dollars given in local scholarships have continued to thrive. In addition to these classic programs, the League has created some new placements and events including Brighter Christmas and Touch a Truck.
Throughout the years the League has evolved to keep pace with our changing community, but the focus has remained the same - the dedication of over 400 women to the children of Martinsville and Henry County.
Even the midst of a pandemic, the League has continued to facilitate well-loved programming for our community. A new partnership with the Patrick & Henry Community Patriot Players was born, Piedmont Arts programming expanded, and we kept our annual Bargain Fair going strong at its Franklin Street location. As in years past, thousands of dollars given in local scholarships have continued to support our seniors as they pursue post-secondary education.
We hosted our first "Mommy & Me" dance, celebrating the influential women in the community.