A new fund within the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation (SMEF) designed to help students who are facing dire circumstances at home raised $20,000 in pledges and contributions on the day it was announced. It is called the Shawnee Mission Cares Fund.
Shawnee Mission Superintendent Jim Hinson announced the fund at the annual SMEF breakfast Wednesday and, with his wife, contributed $1,000 to get it started. He asked the more than 1,100 people at the breakfast to make a pledge or a donation before they left the convention center and a long line formed to make donations as the meeting ended.
Shawnee Mission has students who are hungry, students who are in pain and students who are homeless, Hinson said. He told the crowd the story of a boy caught stuffing food from the cafeteria in his pockets and explained, “If I don’t do this, my brother and sister won’t have anything to eat today.” He described students in pain from lack of medical care and students trying to get wrinkles out of their clothes because they had slept in a car all night.
“If we are going to be great,” Hinson said, “we have to be honest and say we have kids who are hungry, kids who are in pain; and we have to say it is not going to happen under our watch.”
When a need is identified at a district school, the building personnel will vet the situation and then go to the foundation to get whatever is needed. “This is the moment to soar and excel,” Hinson said.