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LANCE Dickie cannot abide the thought of a child, on the first day of school, embarrassed by not having school supplies that classmates do.

In 1999, the editorial writer founded The Seattle Times’ annual school-supply drive, which takes place each summer between July 4 and Labor Day. Over the years, inspired readers have contributed more than $561,000 to help kids from struggling families.

All proceeds benefit clients of Hopelink, the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness and the YWCA of Seattle-King County-Snohomish County. If the average backpack, stuffed with notebooks, pencils, glue, folders and crayons, costs about $40, the supply-drive has likely reached at least 12,500 children.

Every week in summer, Lance would use this space to laud organizations helping kids. Today, his last day before retirement, we let beneficiaries return the favor:

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“Without his involvement, students would have missed out on essential education opportunities,” says Hopelink Chief Executive Lauren Thomas.

“Like Thomas Jefferson, the patron spirit of The Times’ annual school supplies campaign, Lance Dickie believed the cost of uneducated children was much greater than a good education,” said Sue Sherbrooke, the YWCA’s chief executive.

Too many people talk about education as the great equalizer. Lance actually did something. You can too.

Please send a donation to The Seattle Times School Supply Drive, P.O. Box C-11025, Seattle, WA 98111. To give online, visit Email with questions.

Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Ryan Blethen, Sharon Pian Chan, Lance Dickie, Jonathan Martin, Erik Smith, Thanh Tan, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).

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