School supplies sought for students in need Collection starts for back-to-school essentials

With fuel and food prices at record highs, many parents may have a hard time buying pencils, paper, backpacks and other essentials for children headed back to school this fall.

That’s why some local organizations have teamed up to collect donations of school supplies, shoes and socks for Valley students in need.

“The basic supply list adds up really quickly, especially for a family that’s having a hard time just putting food on the table,” said Nancy Flanagan, who is organizing the school supplies drive with the help of Mount Si Lutheran Church, the Mount Si Helping Hand Food Bank, and some other Valley churches.

Students in kindergarten through 12th grade in the Snoqualmie Valley can sign up for a backpack filled with school supplies, as well as a new pair of shoes, at the Helping Hand Food Bank, open Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., and located at 146 E. Third Street. Sign-ups end July 23. Supply-filled backpacks and shoes will be handed out Aug. 20 and 27 at the food bank.

Flanagan said she’s organized the school supplies drive several years in a row now because she likes helping children begin the academic year on the right foot.

“It gives kids a good start, and they’re ready to learn,” she said. “Especially in the younger grades, when students share supplies, it lets them feel that they can contribute to the group.”

Jan Van Liew, who runs a clothing bank at the Snoqualmie Valley Alliance, and is organizing the shoe drive, said she’s always associated a new school year with a new pair of shoes.

“We want the kids to feel like every other kid, with a new pair of shoes and new backpack,” Van Liew said.

In past years, organizers have handed out around 150 backpacks and pairs of shoes. In tough economic times, they may see more requests.

“Every year, I’ve been able to meet the need. I hope I can this year,” Flanagan said.

Drop-off sites for donations are at Mount Si Lutheran Church, located at 411 N.E. 8th St. in North Bend, and Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, located at 39025 S.E. Alpha St. in Snoqualmie. For more information about donating new shoes, call Jan Van Liew of the Snoqualmie Valley Alliance at (425) 831-4590.

Cash donations are also encouraged. Checks may be made out to Helping Hands Schools and mailed to Nancy Flanagan, c/o Mount Si Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 487, North Bend, WA 98045. The supply drive ends Aug. 13.

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