Happy Fourth of July.

Today, Americans celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It’s also the start of The Seattle Times editorial board’s annual school-supply drive.

The author of the Declaration, Thomas Jefferson, went on to be the nation’s third president. He was also a renowned advocate of free public education. He believed educated residents would make responsible citizens who could participate more fully in building the nation.

For the 20th year, the editorial board’s school-supply drive is enlisting readers to help ensure all students start school fully equipped with the tools of learning.

Every autumn, some families must stretch budgets to provide notebooks, calculators and other classroom necessities. The average cost runs in the hundreds of dollars per child, according to a 2018 survey by the national nonprofit Communities In Schools. This expense grows larger as students move into higher grades.

Thanks to Seattle Times readers, thousands of families in Puget Sound receive some relief from this burden every year. And more children will start school fully equipped with the tools of learning just like most of their peers.

The school-supply drive, which is part of The Seattle Times Fund For The Needy, will provide backpacks full of fresh supplies to children in King and Snohomish counties this fall. Please consider making a contribution.


The 2018 drive set a donation record, with $131,035 raised between the Fourth of July and Labor Day. Every dollar goes directly to three local organizations that work to help children and families meet the cost of education: Hopelink, the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness and YWCA Seattle-King-Snohomish. Each agency also can accept direct contributions of new backpacks and supplies.

The need for help with school supplies has grown especially powerful as a booming economy reshapes life in the Seattle area. Children in families experiencing homelessness as part of our region’s growing pains have little, if any, family resources to get them prepared for the school year.

Readers’ generosity will play an important role in helping address this need, which will pay long-lasting benefits. Obtaining a solid education empowers the next generation to break free of the cycle of poverty. No child should be denied an opportunity to succeed by lacking the basic tools for classroom success.

With your help, the school-supply drive can help King and Snohomish county children proudly start the school year this fall prepared to learn and excel.

HELP BUY SUPPLIES: Give online; email questions to ffn@seattletimes.com; or send checks to: The Seattle Times School-Supply Drive, P.O. Box C-11025, Seattle, WA 98111