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GENEROUS readers helping to provide school supplies to needy families might be surprised by the extent of their reach.

Hopelink is one of the three excellent agencies that turn contributions to the school-supplies drive of The Seattle Times Fund for the Needy into backpacks stuffed with the tools of learning.

Poverty has a pervasive presence, and Hopelink responds on the Eastside with emergency-service centers in Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland/Northshore, Carnation and Shoreline.

Hopelink knows the need. One in 5 students in the Bellevue School District is on the free- and reduced-price lunch program. Those same families face the coming expenses of a new school year.

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Last year Hopelink used community support, including donations to this editorial-page campaign, to provide backpacks and school supplies to 2,200 low-income students. The need-driven goal for this year is 3,000.

In addition to Hopelink, donations are shared with the YWCA of Seattle-King County-Snohomish County and the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness. They screen applicants, buy and organize grade-appropriate supplies and distribute them.

Students receive more than school supplies. They get a pragmatic affirmation of the importance of their education to the larger community. A powerful statement of support is made with pens and pencils, notebooks and markers.

Please help, and thank you.

Readers are invited to send a donation to The School Supply Drive of The Seattle Times Fund for the Needy, P.O. Box C-11025, Seattle, WA 98111. For donations via debit or credit card please go online at or email for details.

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