Parents rushing to finish their back-to-school shopping should remember other families in need and donate to The Seattle Times’ school supply drive.

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WHEN Maria Zuniga signed up for a workforce-retraining program through the YWCA in Seattle, the mother of two from Tacoma thought she would get a few weeks of instruction and then go out to look for a job. She received intensive bank-teller and customer-service training. But she also got job-search assistance, a new professional suit, a boost of confidence and some back-to-school help for her son and daughter.

Maria starts her new job at U.S. Bank on Sept. 7, the same day her son starts fourth grade and her daughter enters eighth grade. Maria will be carrying a new portfolio that was a gift from the YWCA. Her kids will tote new backpacks filled with school supplies, thanks in part to generous donations from readers of The Seattle Times.

The YWCA Seattle-King-Snohomish is one of three nonprofit recipients of money from The Times editorial board’s annual school-supply drive. More than $85,000 has been donated since the Fourth of July — the drive officially ends on Labor Day. The money is divided evenly between the YWCA, Hopelink and the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness. Each group buys new backpacks and school supplies and distributes them to thousands of children in need around the region.


To give online, visit:

Questions? Email:

Or please send checks to:

The Seattle Times School Supply Drive, P.O. Box C-11025, Seattle, WA 98111

Those organizations will continue to fill and distribute backpacks into the fall and can use every dollar donated. Thanks to the generosity of Seattle Times readers, every kid who participates in a back-to-school program through these nonprofits will have every thing they need to walk into school with confidence — from crayons to calculators and flash drives.

Maria’s kids have new backpacks plus a confident mom re-entering the workforce with a well-paying job, including health insurance, just eight minutes away from home. The 31-year-old grew up in Tacoma after her family emigrated from Mexico. Money isn’t going to be as tight for her now, but Maria says she is relieved to save almost $100 per kid on a backpack and school supplies this year.

As you rush to fill your own kids’ backpacks with supplies for school, please take a few minutes to make a donation to the school-supply drive and help make this a good year for another Puget Sound family.