Elisabeth Danielsen

Elisabeth Danielsen stands in entrance of a pile of coats she donated for youngsters in need of again-to-university clothes.

Megan Michelotti

For the previous 20 yrs or so, Elisabeth Danielsen has invested all-around $3,000-$4,000 of her own money each 12 months on Helena children’s again-to-school clothes.

Helena’s Angel Fund aids set up these donations at an elementary college for young children to appear select up any garments they may perhaps have to have.

“When I arrived over (to America) from Germany at 10 decades previous, I didn’t have a great deal,” Danielsen claimed. “I didn’t have the ‘right’ clothes or the ‘right’ sneakers, and little ones known as me names and designed enjoyable of me all the time. I don’t want these young children to have to go by means of what I had to go by means of.”

Wednesday marked the fourth 12 months in a row that the back again-to-faculty apparel donated by Danielsen were being provided out at Warren Elementary Faculty. It was the first calendar year ever that Danielsen acquired to attend the occasion and see all her donations in one particular place likely to grateful family members. Anything from coats, socks, footwear, pants and extra all laid out in piles, waiting around for children to choose them home.

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All through the yr, Danielsen shops sales around Helena and shops the products in her residence right up until the time comes to give them out to the local community. Devoid of the sale pricing, the merchandise would whole all-around $8,000-$9,000.

“I’m a excellent shopper,” Danielsen stated.

“She’s a genuinely very good shopper!” emphasized Marcia Wall, founder of Angel Fund. “I built her a title tag so when she shops persons know why she’s constantly in the retailers.”

Wall noted how a lot of the stores Danielsen employed to store at are no for a longer period in Helena. However, that does not cease her from impacting the lives of Helena little ones in strategies she would have beloved as a minimal lady.

“I experienced a (fourth grade instructor in The us), and she genuinely helped me,” reported Danielsen. “When youngsters gave me a poor time, she stepped in sometimes and guarded me. The children also designed enjoyable of me because of my accent. I didn’t know a word of English when I came more than below. Not 1 term.”

When Danielsen and her spouse and children remaining Germany, they still left a city that was ruined by bombs through World War II. The family members arrived to the United States simply because they had family members, Danielsen’s aunt and uncle, who lived in Oakland, California.

“We came in excess of by boat. I try to remember the identify of the boat. It was ‘The Italia,’” Danielsen claimed. “I don’t forget that the storm was so, so undesirable. There was a ship behind us, and we could not convert all-around simply because of the storm to help save the persons (when the ship wrecked), so they drowned. I really do not discuss about it mainly because it reminds me of much too lots of negative items. That stays with you. It does not leave.”

Danielsen’s husband, who’s retired now, is the rationale she ended up in Montana. He labored for a German organization and traveled a good deal.

Danielsen did a small little bit of anything all over her lifetime.

“When my cousin came in excess of from Germany, she labored at a transformer business. I was not outdated ample to get the job done, but I labored (at the transformer firm way too),” said Danielsen. “I figured out how to make transformers and electronics. I did that for quite a although (whilst also likely to college). What are you going to do? You have to survive.”

In Montana, Danielsen labored as a chef at the Gates of the Mountains. It was at this occupation wherever she fulfilled Jim McGrane, who was a teacher and counselor at Helena Middle University and drove the Gates of the Mountains’ ferry tour boats all through the summer months. McGrane was also an Angel coordinator at Helena Center University and aided Wall start Angel Fund about 33 yrs back at Helena Middle University. Now, just about every faculty in Helena has an Angel coordinator.

McGrane released Danielsen to Wall and Angel Fund.

“(Danielsen) to start with started out giving clothes to Jim Darcy since it was shut to her property,” claimed Wall. “After we talked, we commenced getting points to Bryant college for numerous, numerous several years. Then now, Warren school. We’re attempting to distribute the great information around.”

Wall mentioned how in the foreseeable future, they could move the method to Broadwater Elementary University or Central Elementary University when the time is suitable.

“The to start with yr (at Warren) I just divided up things by measurements and sent baggage home with every make contact with family members for the kids. Previous calendar year we did an open up dwelling, but we had to do it outside (because of COVID-19), so I had a little card table. The wind picked up, and outfits were being blowing in all places,” claimed Collette Ozburn, a counselor and the Angel Coordinator at Warren Elementary School. “This year we acquired to go back again to placing it all out and (the little ones) acquired to pick their possess stuff out. A large amount of these kids really don’t have the chance to go buying and choose out their own stuff. When you unpack the luggage (Danielsen) sends over, there is so significantly in each and every bag to lay out. It is incredible.”

Angel Fund - Danielsen

Pictured from left are Collette Ozburn, Elisabeth Danielsen and Marcia Wall.

Megan Michelotti

A minimal girl at the rear of Danielsen brought her mother in excess of to look at the shoe donations. The minor lady grabbed a pair of hot pink slipper boots.

“These kinds, will these kinds fit, mom?” the small lady questioned. The mother nodded.

The minor lady was launched to Elisabeth Danielsen and thanked her for all of the apparel.

“Like Elisabeth? Like our Elisabeth? I have an Elisabeth, but she’s a (kid),” said the tiny woman. Danielsen laughed.

“It’s been a definitely great romance and friendship (with Danielsen),” Wall paused, teary-eyed. “She’s like an angel. She’s my angel pal.”

To speak to the Angel Fund or donate, visit http://www.angelfundhelena.org/ or email [email protected].