Donors address demand for school supplies in Federal Way

A school supply drive by the Federal Way School District and Communities in Schools of Federal Way, with matching donations by Red Canoe Credit Union, brought in more than 1,400 pounds of supplies.

For many students in the district, back to school can be an overwhelmingly expense endeavor, especially when there are multiple school-age children in a household.

There is no one set list for all schools and grade levels, but there is a consensus for what is needed for elementary and middle school students. Supplies for high schoolers tend to vary much more depending on a student's class schedule.

For elementary school students, the cost for school supplies — even while bargain hunting — can run from $30 to $55 per student. For middle school students, the cost can range from $30 to $65.

However, there is help for students who qualify for free or reduced lunches, which in the Federal Way School District is 50 percent.

This was the second year for the Red Canoe supply drive. CIS Executive Director Tracy Oster said the event started off to a slow start but ended well, beating last year's donation of 1,200 pounds of school supplies.

"It's going to be big this year," Oster said. "At a time when families really need it."

CIS also got 1,000 to 1,200 backpacks donated from another district.

Red Canoe matches the donations, writing a check for the pounds of supplies brought in. Then the check is used to buy even more school supplies.

About 85 filled backpacks are handed off to the Boys and Girls club to distribute. The remainder are given to the school district, which brings in school supplies to all elementary schools.

On Tuesday afternoon, CIS held a sorting event, to sort out all of the supplies for distribution.

How to help

Donations are still being accepted year-round by the district. Checks can be made out to Supply Our Schools, and any donations can be dropped off or sent to the district office, 31405 18th Ave. S., Federal Way, WA 98003.

The Federal Way School District is hosting a school supply drive to gather needed supplies for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Nearly 50 percent of students in the district qualify for free or reduced lunch and may have trouble purchasing school supplies. Needed items include backpacks, crayons, pencils, erasers, glue sticks, binders, notebook paper, colored pencils, scissors, dry-erase markers, highlighters, spiral notebooks, Kleenex, pens and calculators. Items can be dropped off between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Educational Service Center, 31405 18th Ave. S. in Federal Way or between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the FWPS office at the Commons mall, near Sears.

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