Press Editorial

August 10, 2010

By Staff

School supplies needed for district’s students

The excitement of heading back to school — meeting a new teacher, seeing who will be in your class, wearing new school clothes — is only three weeks away. But for far too many children in the Issaquah School District, there won’t be new clothes. An even bigger worry is that these students won’t have the school supplies they need.

Most adults don’t remember the need to bring a long list of supplies to school. An old cigar box was helpful to store pencils in, but the school handed out the pencils and crayons on the first day of school. If there was an assignment not in a workbook, the teacher’s helper got to pass out paper. Construction paper folded in half made a cover for corrected homework, tests and student art.

That was then, when school funding meant books for every student, and all the rulers, pens and markers a student would need.

Today, children in the younger grades are even required to bring a box of tissue. Put that together with 1-inch notebooks, several pocket folders, colored pencils, paper, erasers, dictionaries, scissors, glue sticks and calculators — plus a backpack to replace the bygone days of lockers — and the cost is an easy $60 per student.

With more families than ever needing the resources of the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank, it’s hard to imagine how they endure the expenses of a new school year. Many can’t.

Last year, the food bank handed out 650 backpacks stuffed with requisite supplies — and could have used more. Some local churches take care of their own members, and many donations go directly to the schools. It’s estimated that at least 1,500 Issaquah students need help with school supplies.

Food bank director Cherie Meier has a dream. She hopes the community will provide enough so she can also get new socks, underwear and shoes for school-aged clients.

You can help. School supplies are being collected at the food bank (or donate dollars online at www.issaquahfoodbank.org), and at area stores, including Staples, Rite Aid, Bartell’s, Walgreens and Safeway.

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