THE power found in a backpack full of school supplies cannot be underestimated. Generous readers helping provide notebooks, pens and pencils are equipping students to return to class with confidence.

Helping homeless and low-income children be ready for the start of a new school year is a valuable community service.

The YWCA School Days Program certainly knows about the need. Their list of requests for help grows through the summer.

The YWCA of Seattle-King County-Snohomish County helps families from Issaquah to Auburn, in downtown Seattle and neighborhoods and communities north to Everett.

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Last year, contributors to The Times’ school-supply drive helped the YWCA program assist 1,546 children in emergency shelters and supportive housing. Supplies are kept on hand to help new arrivals through the school year.

Reader donations are divided among three excellent agencies: Hopelink, the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness and the YWCA. They buy the supplies, screen requests and track the grade-appropriate needs of students.

Help not only equip students to learn, but also give them the gift of arriving unnoticed for class with the supplies everyone else has. For young people with other struggles in their family lives, that is no small bonus. Please help.

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.