In reliable form, Seattle Times readers have once again ponied up cash to buy school supplies for children who are our region’s most in need.
But what happens when the economy is plagued with double-digit unemployment and the school year is challenged by pandemic uncertainty? Readers reach even deeper and give even more to The Times editorial board school-supply drive — blowing by the past record.
Since July, 923 readers donated a total of $150,841.33. Dozens more people contributed to a total that exceeds last year’s mark by about $28,000.
Readers’ generous support, which may be tax deductible, means thousands of students in King and Snohomish counties are starting school well equipped for learning. Among them are students like Joseph, Daniel and Romel, who are entering fourth, third and first grade, respectively, in Seattle Public Schools.
The boys will be logging into remote classes at a day program offered by The Boys & Girls Club of King County, said their mother, Jasmine Glasper. Since she is not working right now, she said the donated supplies were a weight off her shoulders.
“It seems little, but if we can’t afford it, it’s a big deal,” she said.
“My kids love school,” Glasper said, adding that during this unusual semester, the donated supplies help her family feel connected to the community. They know that somebody was thinking about them. That means a lot, especially since most of their extended family lives out of state, she said.
The Boys & Girls Club of King County is offering a safe space and homework help to more than 1,000 students at more than two dozen club locations during remote learning. Students must bring their own backpacks full of supplies to help maintain social distancing and sanitation precautions to protect against the spread of coronavirus. Thanks to Seattle Times readers, many of them can.
The Boys & Girls Club has committed to offer the daytime programming as long as schools are operating remotely, said spokeswoman Lorraine Montez.
“It takes a community, and we sure have one, Montez said.
Readers’ donations were divided between our three community partners: Hopelink, YWCA Seattle-King-Snohomish and the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness. Every penny was used to purchase backpacks and essential back-to-school supplies.
Thank you to all who donated, and for providing a ray of light and hope to area families during these difficult times.