Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Back-to-school supplies

Support back-to-school supply drives today

Drives wind down soon; so cultivate a community mindset in kids today

Summer is still sizzling, but back-to-school supplies drives are already well underway to collect items for families in need. Drives are a great way to make a difference in your community and get your kids hooked into the “sharing is caring” movement. 

The following organizations annually run drives that distribute supplies to thousands of kids in need. If your family has the means, consider collecting extra items to donate when you shop for your own kids’ school supplies. Allowing children, especially young ones, to participate in picking out supplies for another student helps them make a personal connection with the action of giving.

If collecting supplies is difficult, most drives also collect financial donations. Organizations use donated funds to purchase supplies using a bulk discount. Items needed include notebooks, binders, pens/pencils, highlighters, pencil pouches, backpacks and whatever is on your child’s list. 

Project Cool

Project Cool, a program of the Seattle King County Coalition on Homelessness, supports more than 1,400 students in local public schools with backpacks and new school supplies this year. The project doesn’t accept items but does need cash donations to purchase supplies: $60 will provide 1 student with a new backpack, filled with quality school supplies, age-appropriate books, and key basic health items; $100 will allow 25 high school 9th graders to write their first high school essays in new spiral notebooks; $200 will color the lives of 30 young students as they begin kindergarten with new crayons, markers, colored pencils. They also have limited in-person volunteer opportunities this year to help distribute backpacks and supplies. Contact or call 206-204-8350. Click here to donate.

Mary’s Place

Mary’s Place distributes school supplies to families in August. They need backpacks, insulated lunch boxes, and $25 gift cards to stores like Target or Fred Meyer for parents to shop for clothing for their kids. For a list of needed items and drop off donations with hours and directions go to the donation drop-off page on the Mary’s Place website.

International Rescue Committee

The IRC invites families to run donation drives or purchase from either their elementary or secondary education Amazon wishlist. Donors can either purchase school supplies in bulk or individually or purchase a backpack and fill it with the appropriate school supplies listed on the supply drive webpage. Items purchased from our Amazon wishlist will be delivered to the committee’s warehouse located at 2365 S 200th St SeaTac, WA 98198. You can also purchase school supplies from other retail stores and ship directly to the warehouse address or drop off in-person during business hours (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m). All supplies must be new and not previously used. Scroll down to see the school supplies we are looking for. There are two separate lists: elementary and secondary. For more information, email

Bartell Drugs

Seattle’s hometown drugstore is currently hosting its annual school supply drive to benefit children in 119 schools within Pierce, King and Snohomish counties. Buy supplies in the store and donate them to bins on site or donate at the register. Needed essentials include basic school supplies, toiletries, personal care items, nonperishable food items and snacks. Bartell’s drive is a partnership Federal Way-based World Vision and radio station STAR 101.5. NOTE: Numerous local grocery stores, drug stores and office supply stores run school supply drives in July and August. When you shop, look for or ask where the donation bin is located in the store. Then shop and deposit your gift there on the way out the door.


Family advocacy agency FamilyWorks is collecting school supplies for Seattle students for distribution on Saturday, August 26th. Donate supplies by Wednesday, August 16th. All donated items should be in new, unused condition.You can drop-off school supplies at the Family Resource Center at 1005 NE 67th St., Seattle, WA 98115 on Wednesdays from 2:00 – 5:00 PM. If you need to schedule a time outside of those hours (206) 647-1790 or email You can also order items from the FamilyWorks Amazon Wishlist or another online retailer and have your donations shipped directly to us at the address above.

Communities in Schools/Seattle

Seattle’s Communities in School effort collected donations for its annual Stuff the Bus school supply drive through mid-August in partnership with local businesses and organizations.  The Seattle drive has concluded, but other Stuff the Bus drives are still underway. Google “Stuff the Bus” with your city’s name to find other Communities in Schools drives. Learn more about Seattle drive at

Communities in Schools/Tacoma

The Pierce county arm of Communities in Schools is holding its Stuff the Buss school supply drive through August 17. The event ensures that students in the greater Pierce County area have the tools and support they need to succeed all year long. Donate to the Stuff the Bus drive: Order supplies online and have them shipped directly to the drive, make a monetary donation, or drop off supplies at any of our collection sites listed on the Tacoma Stuff the Bus webpage. Have time? Volunteers are needed to help round up supplies from our collection sites and help sort supplies into backpacks. For more information or to volunteer, email Nicole at or call 253-571-5166.

The Seattle Times Fund for Those in Need

is collecting donations to fund school supplies distributed through Hopelink, YWCA Seattle-King-Snohomish and the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness. he easiest way to donate is online. Checks may also be sent to: The Seattle Times School-Supply Drive, P.O. Box C-11025, Seattle, WA 98111; email questions to

Washington State Fair Free-entry Donation Day

On September 8, the fair is offering free admission from 10:30am – 12:30pm to anyone who brings a new school supply donation to any entrance gate following the Rodeo Parade. Donations support Communities in Schools.

World Vision

 Based in Federal Way,  World Vision helps kids in need around the world get school supplies that will help them thrive. Donations help to purchase school supply basics as well as teaching materials, textbooks, sports equipment, PPE and remote learning tools. Make your gift at


The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) eeds school supplies to help realize it’s vision of every child enjoying a full and well-resourced education. Go online to UNICEF Inspired Gifts and select the school supplies you wish to donate. Note: UNICEF operates internationally and delivers supplies to the areas with the most critical need.

Fill the Canoe  

Red Canoe Credit Union’s annual school-supply drive, Fill the Canoe, matched nearly $29,364 of donations 2022 and has matched 224,809 pounds of school supplies since its supply drive started in 2007. The total of donations for the 2023 drive, which concluded in mid-August, will be released soon. 

Walk, Call, Google it!

Drives pop up all over Seattle as September draws near. Local fire departments, schools, businesses and media outlets like the West Seattle Blog often run drives. So take a walk through your neighborhood business district, contact your local school, reach out to your local chamber of commerce or business association, or simply google “School supply drive near me” to give.

Where to find free school supplies

If your family needs help getting kids to school with all the supplies on a teacher’s list, there are several organizations ready to help. The website Need Help Paying Bills offers a list of organizations that distribute school supplies to families in nee. Washington Free School Supplies also offers a list of places distributing supplies. Many of the organizations listed above, now accepting donations, also distribute the supplies they receive. Contact the one nearest you. Keep in mind, that some school drives, like the Seattle Times Fund for Those in Need, support outside organizations. The newspaper does not distribute the supplies.

More on Seattle’s Child:

“Help your child get ready to head back to school”

Read more on Seattle’s Child

“Help your child get ready to head back to school”

About the Author

Cheryl Murfin

Cheryl Murfin is managing editor at Seattle's Child. She is also a certified doula, lactation educator for and a certified AWA writing workshop facilitator at