Altrusa gives Sunshine House to Historical Society

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 19, 2008

One of Andalusia’s Stanley Avenue landmarks, the Sunshine House, has been donated to the Covington Historical Society.

Bill Law, vice president of the Covington Historical Society, said the Andalusia chapter of Altrusa International donated the home in hopes that its purpose would live on.

“Lela Holmes said current members were getting older and not many members were left,” he said. “They donated the home to the Covington Historical Society so that it would continue to be used to support civic and community activities in Covington County.”

Altrusa International, Inc. of Andalusia was organized March 26, 1956, and received its charter on April 10. 1957, with 24 charter members.

Through the years the Altrusa Club has had many service projects, ­but its main project has been the Sunshine Club, made up of senior citizens, organized in 1957.

Altrusans serve as hostesses at their monthly meetings giving devotions, programs, or leading games such as bingo and serving refreshments. There are no obligations for the Sunshine Club members except to attend and invite others.

After a few years, with difficulty in finding permanent monthly meeting places for both clubs, Andalusia Altrusans decided to take matters into their own hands and buy or build a recreation center of their own.

In 1967 the Altrusa Club purchased an older home and completely renovated it by knocking out walls for a large meeting area and adding a fully-equipped kitchen and dining room. All furniture was donated by members and friends.

The Sunshine House served as a permanent home for both the Altrusa and Sunshine Clubs for many years. It was featured in the December 1973 issue of the International Altrusan magazine.

Law said the Altrusa Club, comprised of business and professional women, created the Sunshine Club as a way to assist elderly women who could not leave their home without assistance.

“The Altrusa Club would go around to pick up elderly ladies who were unable to get out on their own,” he said. “The ladies would be brought back to the Sunshine House to participate in games, socialize and crafts.”

Law said the Historical Society plans to use the Sunshine House as meeting place and also space for rent to the public.

“We have been meeting in the library and this will give us a place our own to conduct our monthly meetings,” he said. “We may make it available for wedding receptions and other events. It could possibly provide some added income for the historical society.”