M. Ryder / Op-Art

Holy cow, readers. You really came through for local students, with more than 1,000 of you donating an eye-popping $203,570 to this year’s Seattle Times editorial board school supply drive.

Your generosity deserves at least 1,000 thank yous. Combined, readers’ contributions blew past last year’s record-breaking $167,269 total.

Every donation — from $5 to $10,000 — is deeply appreciated by the thousands of students in King and Snohomish counties who received backpacks and other school essentials. They are appreciated by the families who received a much-needed helping hand.

And contributions are appreciated by the community partners who purchased and distributed the materials: YWCA Seattle-King-Snohomish, Hopelink and Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness. But don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what they had to say:

From Hopelink spokeswoman Kris Betker: “We are so grateful to Seattle Times’ readers for this tremendous show of support for local families. The generosity of this community will help so many kids get off to the best possible start — helping them begin the school year ready and excited to learn. Thank you!”

From Alison Eisinger, executive director of the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness: “What an extraordinary show of support and care in uncertain times! Support from Seattle Times Fund for Those in Need allowed our network of parents, kids and staff at homeless shelters to breathe a collective sigh of relief. Back-to-school is fraught for every family this year — but families without homes already cope with so much, and the pandemic made things tougher.”

From Maria Chavez-Wilcox, chief executive officer of YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish: “YWCA appreciates the generosity of our community and their commitment to making sure every student can start the school year off right. The pandemic has disproportionately impacted the success of students of color, particularly Black students, and this donation allows us to help bridge that gap. Thank you!”

So thank you again, readers, from all of us, for helping so many students in need.