Shoe Giveaway Remembers ‘Elf Rose’

Posted: January 13, 2020

For the third year in a row NorthBay Healthcare elves delivered happy feet to two local schools in December through a program that honors the memory of Rose F. Kennedy, a NorthBay finance manager who lost her battle with cancer in February 2013.  

Visiting Fairview Elementary the morning of Dec. 20, NorthBay Audit Specialist Nancy Juarez shared the story of Elf Rose, who wanted all the children to have new shoes.

Principal George Porter asked the children if they thought they could run faster in the new shoes.

“Yes!” came the cries.

“Can you jump higher? Kick a soccer ball farther?”

“Yes,” came the cries, with one girl proclaiming them to be “Super shoes!”

By week’s end, 23 kindergartners at Padan and 23 kindergarteners at Fairfield laced up new Vans, thanks to the Rose F. Kennedy Memorial Fund.

During the 2012 Adopt-A-School program, Rose learned that many kindergartners wore shoes that were either too big or too small, and they often asked to take their shoes off during class because their feet hurt. Many students in these low-income schools wear hand-me-down shoes and struggle to have warm clothes during the winter months.

When Rose learned of their plight, she and her husband, Michael Shafer, took action and bought shoes for the class they adopted.

Now, years later, it’s an endowment fund that keeps the effort running each year.

It’s always a little bittersweet for Michael, who came from the Bay Area to attend both school presentations this year.

“But I always look forward to it and hope that will never change,” he said.

Penn Yang, Health Information Management Lead, led this year’s shoe giveaway, but quickly thanked her team, pointing out it was a group effort.

“I couldn’t have done it without the team,” she said.

And indeed, her team of elves stepped up and helped each child take off their old shoes and put on their new sneakers to wear home.


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