Back-to-school shopping is expected to be more expensive this year, as coronavirus wreaks havoc with supply chains and shipping snarls make it hard for retailers to keep up with demand.

As The Washington Post recently reported, coronavirus outbreaks in overseas manufacturing hubs like Bangladesh and Vietnam are forcing factory shutdowns, reducing capacity. In the U.S., containers are piling up at seaports and rail yards, driving up costs — and consumer prices — even as retailers struggle to restock inventory. Experts predict the transportation snags to last well into next year.

Donating now to The Seattle Times editorial board’s annual school-supply drive will enable community partners to buy supplies like notebooks, backpacks, calculators, pencils, crayons, glue and other items for children in need before the situation worsens. Cash donations give them much-needed flexibility to buy in bulk and focus on the greatest need.

Since July 4, Seattle Times readers have been offering cash donations to equip students in King and Snohomish counties with backpacks stuffed with grade-appropriate school essentials. The need has never been so great. For thousands of families, 18 months of pandemic uncertainty has stretched household budgets to the breaking point. Keeping up with rising costs makes an already-difficult situation more fraught.

The annual school-supply drive is part of The Seattle Times Fund For The Needy, a registered 501(c)(3) Charitable Organization that includes the School Supply Drive. Every penny donated is distributed to community partners YWCA Seattle-King-Snohomish, Hopelink and Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness.

Donate online. Checks may also be sent to: The Seattle Times School-Supply Drive, P.O. Box C-11025, Seattle, WA 98111; email questions to