FOR the 15th straight year, Seattle Times readers came through for thousands of local students at risk of going to school without basic supplies.

Between July Fourth and last Friday, at least 677 donors gave more than $88,000 — a record that means more backpacks for more children.

Even in a region as prosperous and generous as this one, too many families still struggle to make ends meet. This is the time of year when many find themselves short of the financial resources needed to provide their kids with the tools of learning.

Donations to the annual school-supply drive will gladly be accepted through Labor Day. All proceeds benefit three nonprofit partners — Hopelink serving Shoreline, east and north King County; the YWCA in Seattle, King County and Snohomish County; and the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness.

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These organizations ensure your contributions are spent on sturdy backpacks and chipping away at those long lists of items required by schools these days — from pencils and glue sticks to USB drives and toothbrushes.

“As school approaches we still have students in need, and we are always trying to reach as many students as possible in order to give them the opportunity to begin the school year equally equipped to learn as their peers,” says Darrell Bullmer of Hopelink.

“The financial gifts from The Times’ readers is crucial, because while volunteers can do a lot, we want to make sure that we can buy enough new, good-quality items for every one of the 1,374 kids we serve — so that one child doesn’t get a fancy calculator while another gets a used pencil case,” adds Alison Eisinger, the Coalition’s executive director.

Readers responded all summer by sending in checks, some of them with notes.

“As a retired schoolteacher, I understand the importance of ‘being like the other kids,’ ” wrote one anonymous donor.

After reading a July editorial, Ronna Jerabek of Harborstone Credit Union organized a workplace school-supply drive for the YWCA.

“I was deeply touched by everyone’s efforts to send thousands of area children back to school with pride, or at the very least, less stress,” she said after collecting and dropping off about 40 pounds of crayons, pens, notebooks and backpacks.

On this Labor Day, which marks the end of the annual school-supply drive, The Times thanks all who helped to make this year’s campaign a success.

But it’s never too late to give more.

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