Back to school with donations


The Mirror

Pens, pencils, paper (both wide and college-ruled), markers and glue are on the list of items needed most for underprivileged Federal Way students as the next school year approaches.

This is the sixth year that Federal Way Public Schools employees have taken donations from folks inside and outside the district. The district’s counselors, principals and teachers provide the materials to students who need them most. Donations are being accepted at the district’s office until Aug. 31.

Many parents call the district’s main office saying they can’t afford all of the supplies their children need to start school, said Geri Walker, a district employee and one of the donation coordinators.

Parents and guardians can contact the school where their children are enrolled and let the staff know what is needed. School officials then visit the district office and take the materials they need and a little extra to help them supply students.

Walker estimates the program helps about 500 students each year.

Donations are down this year, while the need has been going up every year, Walker said. Approximately 40 percent of the district’s students are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches. That statistic is generally considered a measurement of how many children come from low-income families. She attributed diminished donations to low publicity about the annual drive.

School employees are usually reminded several times over the summer about donating, she said.

In its inaugural year, the collection was limited to district employees, and the bounty was sent to five schools with many low-income families. It soon expanded.

“We realized the need was much bigger than that,” Walker said.

Now all the schools are involved, and there are business partners. Walker said Costco has provided backpacks. The city of Federal Way is also heavily involved through municipal employees, she said.

Tina Piety, who is organizing the city’s drive, said the main push is Aug. 23-27.

Staff writer Mike Halliday, 925-5565,

Details of donating

If you want to donate to the school supply drive, take your donations to the FWPS Educational Service Center, 31405 18th Ave. S. from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday until August 31. Donations are also accepted at the district’s Community Resource Center at The Commons (formerly the SeaTac Mall) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday until August 16.

Items needed most

five-inch pointed scissors (district officials recommend scissors made by Fiskar or something similar)

boxes of colored pencils

colored markers (both wide and fine point)

white glue and glue sticks

paper: wide and college ruled

spiral notebooks: again, wide and college ruled

Cash and check donations are accepted. Make checks out to the Joyce Ray Memorial and note the intention of the donation on the check.

School clothes

Community members can donate school clothes for students from Kindergarten to 12th grade on Aug. 23-24 from 1-3 p.m. at 30819 14th Ave S. in Federal Way. The drive is sponsored by the Federal Way PTSA.

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