Seattle Times readers are part of a big village of people working to make sure children in King and Snohomish counties go back to school this fall with a backpack full of supplies.

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FOR 22 years, a coalition of suburban churches and religious groups has been doing its best to make sure every child shows up for the first day of school in Bellevue with all the supplies he or she needs for a successful year.

Yes, even in this more affluent Eastside city, some students need extra help getting what they need for school.

The district of 20,000 had 3,674 students who qualified for free or reduced-price meals during the past school year. Last fall, Congregations for Kids provided the neediest 1,400 children with backpacks full of school supplies. The all-volunteer organization is aiming to fill 1,500 backpacks this summer.

Help buy school supplies

To give online:

Questions? Email:

Or please send checks to: The Seattle Times School Supply Drive, P.O. Box C-11025, Seattle, WA 98111

Groups like Congregations for Kids work in nearly every town and school district to make sure children walk into school confident and prepared.

The Seattle Times editorial board’s annual school-supply drive helps three nonprofit organizations meet their goals for kids in King and Snohomish counties.

Last year, 764 generous newspaper readers donated $100,000, which was divided equally among the three organizations: YWCA Seattle King Snohomish, Hopelink and the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness.

All the money was used to buy school supplies and backpacks for more than 4,400 children in the two-county area. But they filled just a fraction of the need. Smaller groups like Congregations for Kids provide the rest. That Bellevue organization has filled nearly 23,000 backpacks since 1996.

The group estimates it will cost about $33 to fill each backpack for first- through third-graders, $48 for fourth- and fifth-graders, $62 for middle-schoolers and $46 for high-school students. Members of this coalition of churches, synagogues and mosques provide much of the supplies and cash donations, while some local businesses also donate.

If you live in Bellevue and want to help with a cash or supply donation, visit Congregations for Kids online.

Or consider making a donation to The Seattle Times school-supply drive. Either way, your donation will help children feel confident and prepared on the first day of school.