The Sharing Tree
Providing school supplies to Hudson and Somerset students in need.
The Sharing Tree provides school supplies to students in need in the Hudson & Somerset, WI school districts. Our goal is to provide the students with the necessary supplies to help them succeed in their classrooms.
The Sharing Tree began in 2002 after Cindy's encounter the year before with the custodian at the former Stillwater mall. Cindy was volunteering with The Caring Tree, the school supply program operating in every school district in Minnesota, when the custodian approached and asked if he could register his 3 sons. During his break he returned the completed registrations but his sons attended school in Hudson, WI. As a result she had to deny him assistance but promised him this program would be in Hudson the following year. Beginning in 2002 Cindy & Ken Corbett and their three children organized and operated The Sharing Tree out of their home. Since its inception The Sharing Tree has provided much needed supplies for approximately 2238 students. Now under the directorship of Cindy Leonard (formerly Corbett) and with several volunteers, The Sharing Tree assisted 307 in 2017, 92 more students than in 2016.
We provide school supplies to students in pre-school through 12th grade. What makes our program unique is that during registration the students identify their school and grade, and we provide the supplies specifically requested by their teacher rather than a backpack filled with random supplies.
Registration forms are available at all Hudson & Somerset schools, the food shelves, and here on our website. After registration, school supplies are gathered in one of two ways: 1) student sponsorship, where supporters of The Sharing Tree shop for a specific student (identified only by grade, gender, and age); or 2) The Sharing Tree uses grants, cash contributions, fundraising, and in kind donations to meet the remainder (the majority) of the unsponsored students' needs.
When all of the supplies have been purchased we hold a Back Pack Stuffing Night, actually a grocery bag stuffing night, at the Hudson branch of WESTconsin Credit Union. In approximately two hours this August, 30 volunteers collected and bundled the teacher requested school supplies for the 307 students.
The culmination of our program year happens on Distribution Night. That too was held at the Credit Union for Hudson students and at the Somerset Town Hall/Senior Center for Somerset families. Families and
students arrive, gather their pre-bundled school supplies and then chose their own backpacks.
Here are some comments we received on surveys distributed to Sharing Tree families on Distribution Night:
"Wonderful experience, I felt welcomed and not treated like a second class citizen."
"Without your help I didn't know how I was going to afford supplies for my child, thank you."
"We are very thankful for your program. Without it our son would not have had any supplies because both of us have been very ill."
"Just want to say thank you so much. It helped 100%. We are very grateful for this type of program."
You can check out our bylaws here.