James Hansen Memorial Shoe Fund
Imagine… every child wearing shoes that fit, without holes.
How the Hansen Shoe Fund works today:
The dignity and privacy of our students has always come first and foremost in all the decisions of supplying items to students in our district. The students who may benefit from this program have always been protected with processes in place to ensure the privacy of the student.
SEF raises the funds through community efforts. Those who are directly in contact with students on a one-to-one basis take the steps to make sure the students who would most benefit from the program receive what they need.
The teachers, counselors, principals and staff who are closest to the students make sure the students are cared for. This ensures that all students with the need for shoes are included in the program. Students are always protected from any publicity or public disclosure and new shoes are provided to build the self-esteem, warmth and comfort that the program was first established for many years ago.
Original story of how the Hansen Shoe Fund originated:
The James Hansen Memorial Shoe Fund (once known as the Snohomish Shoe Fund) began many decades ago. At the suggestion of Stan Berentsen, principal of Emerson School, some of the PTA mothers started bringing children’s outgrown clothing to school for those in need. This continued for several years, until the Assistance League of Everett took over in the late 1960s when they founded their first outreach program, Operation School Bell. This program became a strong partner in supporting student success and the partnership continues today. Operation School Bell provides much needed clothes for qualifying students. Although the program is able to meet the clothing needs of our students, it is unable to fund shoes. That is where the Hansen Shoe Fund fills the gap by providing new shoes to qualifying students in the Snohomish School District.
As the program became more popular contributions from churches, service clubs, PTA groups, and individuals were donated. These donations were originally made through the District. In 1983, a popular teacher at Central School, James Hansen, passed away. He and his wife, Helen, had been strong supporters of the shoe fund, and Helen gave a generous bequest in Jim’s memory. Mr. Hansen was known to have always kept his desk stocked with clean dry socks for any student who might need them and packed an extra sandwich every day for any student who didn’t have a lunch. He wanted to keep all his students warm, comfortable and ready to learn in the classroom.
Donations made to the Hansen Shoe Fund in 2017 will allow the Foundation to purchase more than 275 pairs of new shoes for our District’s children. For many of these students, the shoes they receive through the Hansen Shoe Fund are the only new shoes they will receive during the year. These new shoes make a difference in a child’s ability to play on the playground, provide warmth and protection from winter elements, but most importantly they provide the child with dignity and self-confidence. Instead of worrying about the holes in the soles of their shoes a child can spend that energy learning.
Since its inception the Hansen Shoe Fund has donated thousands of pairs of shoes to qualifying students. Due to the generosity of our community members, local businesses, teachers, school parent teacher organizations, and our students that empty their piggy banks and pockets each year, the Hansen Shoe Fund has continued to have a greater impact on the educational success and happiness of our children year after year.