Help homeless kids around the Puget Sound benefit by giving to the editorial board's school-supply drive

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Every school district around the Puget Sound has homeless children in its classrooms. From the wealthiest districts, like Mercer Island, to the most economically diverse, like Highline or Seattle, all have students in unstable living situations. They may sleep on a floor or in a car. They probably don’t have a quiet place to do their homework. And on the first day of school, they probably won’t have the money to buy all the items on their school’s supply list.

More than 8,400 students in King County meet the federal government’s definition of a homeless student, which may mean they are living on the street or in a shelter, but could also mean their family is doubling up with some friends or family members.

Thanks to the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness’ “Project Cool for Back-to-School” and generous readers of The Seattle Times, many of those children will walk into school this fall with a new backpack full of school supplies.

The backpack is both a practical and a psychological aid, because these children need more than a new pair of tennis shoes to feel the back-to-school spirit that children from wealthier families experience each fall.

In addition to its school-supply program, the Homeless Coalition also trains teachers, government workers and school officials on best practices for helping homeless students. They help parents advocate for their own families. And they are involved in the annual count of homeless people in King County.

For 19 years, the editorial board’s school-supply drive has collected donations from readers and passed them along to nonprofit agencies that buy backpacks and school supplies for King and Snohomish county children in need. The money raised is split three ways between the Coalition on Homelessness, Hopelink and the YWCA Seattle-King-Snohomish.

Last year, between Independence Day and the end of September, readers set a record of generosity, with 933 people donating more than $125,500 to the school-supply drive. The drive is more than halfway toward its goal this year. Please think of the needy children in your own neighborhood or school district, and give to the editorial board’s school-supply drive this summer.