The lists might not seem too daunting for many: A box of crayons, a few folders and some scissors; a packet of graph paper, a flash drive and scientific calculator for older kids.

But for a family dealing with job loss, homelessness or hunger, such mundane back-to-school essentials are just one more thing to struggle to pay for. Donations to The Seattle Times editorial board’s annual school-supply drive offer more than pencils, they offer peace of mind.

That’s particularly true this year, as families deal with the added stresses and economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic, juggle child-care duties, new distance learning responsibilities or other changes to school routines.

Each year, Seattle Times readers’ generous cash donations help stuff thousands of back-to-school backpacks distributed by community partners Hopelink, YWCA Seattle-King-Snohomish, and the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness. This year, partners are also helping fill students’ needs for additional supplies like Wi-Fi hot spots and access to technology, when they can.

In addition to these extra needs, partners like Hopelink expect to see an increase in the number of families needing help with back-to-school expenses, based on increased community need for food assistance and other services.

As summer advances, parents and the community organizations that support them must be prepared for whatever fall semester brings.

HOW TO GIVE: Donate online. Checks may also be sent to: The Seattle Times School-Supply Drive, P.O. Box C-11025, Seattle, WA 98111. Email questions about donations to