Lifestyle

Community needs donations of school supplies

It seems like summer just started, but it is already time to start thinking about going back to school. For many students in the community, that means looking for school supplies their families can barely afford.

"Obviously everyone is so hard hit, the need is going to be the greatest this year," said Bridget O'Connor of Red Canoe Credit Union. "Other resources are drying up. Right now people are having awesome sales. You can get glue for 25 cents. It's easy for us that do have a little to give and feel good."

Communities in Schools of Federal Way and Red Canoe Credit Union are hoping to change that, and July 27 marks the kickoff of their school supply drive.

The Fill the Canoe event will run through Aug. 14, and any supplies can be dropped off in a 14 foot canoe in the lobby of the Pacific Highway branch of Red Canoe Credit Union, 33616 Pacific Highway.

At the end of the run, the donations will be weighed, and Red Canoe will match pound for pound the new school supplies.

"It's fantastic that Red Canoe Credit Union is going to match," CIS executive director Tracy Oster said. "By doing that, if we do come up short (with certain supplies), we can fill in the gaps with the check for those items we are short."

There are also several other drop-off points for school supplies around town, including St. Francis Hospital, the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce and Sylvan Learning Center. All donations dropped off at those locations will be driven over to Red Canoe and counted for the total match weight.

Volunteers are needed to sort and stuff backpacks or collect supplies at local business locations.

This year, there hasn't been a large donation of backpacks, so demand is higher, O'Connor said.

O'Connor also said that last year the CIS drive brought in 200 backpacks filled with supplies and Red Canoe is hoping to double that, or even better yet, hit 500.

The school supplies will all go toward Federal Way students, mostly to students in the Federal Way School District. Some will be set aside for Boys and Girls Club of Federal Way.

"As you know in Federal Way, 43 percent live at or below poverty level," Oster said. "We estimate it can cost $75 for a backpack and supplies. $75 is a lot of money, especially when you have more than one child. It's about the students, especially those students starting school and the teacher tells them to ‘get your crayons out’ and that kid doesn't have any. How would you feel?"

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