Teachers buy supplies for some students who can’t afford them. Support the school-supply drive and help teachers too.

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PARENTS aren’t the only ones scrambling to find school-supply bargains this month. Teachers are in line at the same stores, many spending hundreds of dollars to fill their classroom cupboards with everything from paper to facial tissues.

Every teacher needs some supplies for students who run out or forget something at home, but in high-poverty areas, teachers also need to buy for some children whose families can’t afford to send a filled backpack to school in the fall.

The Seattle Times’ generous readers are helping fill in some of those holes with their contributions to the editorial board’s summer school-supply drive, which runs through Labor Day.

Help buy supplies

To give online, visit: seati.ms/edschoolsupplies.

Questions? Email: ffn@seattletimes.com.

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

Last year, 764 newspaper readers donated $100,000, which was divided equally between three organizations — the YWCA Seattle King Snohomish, Hopelink and the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness. Money raised during the drive filled backpacks for more than 4,400 children around King and Snohomish counties last year.

But that’s only a fraction of the children whose families need help buying school supplies. Local drives help some families, but other students show up empty-handed on the first day of school.

Carly Trager, a third-grade teacher at Honey Dew Elementary in the Renton School District, said six kids in last year’s class of 24 came to school without school supplies, including four who were homeless or had unstable housing.

Trager spent more than $100 of her own money buying supplies for the kids and her classroom, in addition to the $75 her PTA provides for art supplies and other needs. Every teacher she knows spends some of her or his own money on classroom supplies.

“Spending my own money can be hard sometimes. But you can ask any teacher, the children make everything worth it in the end,” she said. “That extra money goes a long way when it makes things easier or puts a smile on a student’s face.”

The 24-year-old loves her work and the students, and was somewhat reluctant to share the extent of shopping required to prepare her classroom.

She goes to the thrift store to buy books for her class library, but facial tissues and snacks are not something you can pick up used. If you’re wondering why third graders need snacks, then you’ve probably never tried to teach multiplication to a hungry 8-year-old.

Some families help Trager by donating extra supplies throughout the year, and local nonprofits also have adopted the school. With nearly 68 percent of Honey Dew’s students qualified for free- or reduced-priced lunch, this Renton school has a lot of needy students.

Trager says she’s grateful to live and work in a community that cares about all its children and tries to meet their needs.

The same could be said for the readers of The Seattle Times, who have supported the school-supply drive this summer so thousands of students in our region can go to school with the supplies they need.