A lot of folks are making difficult spending choices to make ends meet as inflation takes a bite out of budgets this summer. They’re taking fewer car trips, eating at home or looking for other ways to save.

But there’s nowhere to cut if you’re making just $30,000 a year or less, as do 90% of Hopelink’s clients, according to Meghan Altimore, Hopelink’s Vice President of Community Services. You find yourself cutting necessities, like food, shelter, clothing or medical attention.

“It’s a game of Tetris all the time, and it’s exhausting,” said Altimore. “So, as we get closer to the school year, they’ll take the money they may have used on food and use it for school supplies.”

That’s why, with the generous assistance of donors including Seattle Times readers, each summer Hopelink distributes backpacks stuffed with pencils, notebooks, calculators, crayons, glue and other back-to-school essentials.

Hopelink serves people from Shoreline out through the Snoqualmie Valley, including students in the Lake Washington, Riverview, Skykomish, Snoqualmie Valley and Sultan school districts. Last year, they distributed 2,493 back-to-school backpacks, according to the nonprofit’s records. Any supplies are distributed to teachers at schools with higher concentrations of low-income students.

“We’re trying to be as preemptive as we can so families aren’t facing so much pressure,” said Altimore.

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Cash donations to The Seattle Times editorial board’s annual school supply drive are evenly distributed between Hopelink, the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness and YWCA Seattle-King-Snohomish.

As of Monday, Aug. 1, the drive had raised $66,855 from 399 readers — one-third of the way to our $200,000 goal. Donations of every level are warmly encouraged. And please send us a note describing your reasons for contributing to this important cause.

The drive is part of The Seattle Times Fund for Those in Need, a registered 501(c) (3) Charitable Organization. The easiest way to donate is online. Checks may also be sent to: The Seattle Times School-Supply Drive, P.O. Box C-11025, Seattle, WA 98111. Email questions to ffn@seattletimes.com.