Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Back-to-school supplies

Photo by Shelly Greninger / Creative Commons

Back-to-school supplies drives collecting now

Collecting items is a great way to cultivate a community support mindset in kids

It’s the height of summer, but back-to-school supplies drives are preparing or have already started 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. 

Current or upcoming drives

Mary’s Place distributes school supplies to families in August. This year 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. Drop off donations with hours and directions are here: marysplaceseattle.org/share-your-stuff

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.

Communities in Schools is collecting donations for the annual Stuff the Bus school supply drive through August 18 in partnership with local businesses and organizations. Donate online or through Amazon Wish List. Not in Seattle? Google “Stuff the Bus” with your city’s name to find other Communities in Schools drives. Learn more about Seattle drive at seattle.ciswa.org

Fill the Canoe is Red Canoe Credit Union’s annual school-supply drive and is collecting donations through August 12 for communities in southeast King County. Red Canoe matches each donation one-to-one. Choose the location you’d like to support at  fillthecanoe.com.

The Seattle Times Fund for Those in Need is collecting donations to fund school supplies distributed through YWCA Seattle-King-Snohomish, Hopelink and Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness. Send checks to: The Seattle Times School-Supply Drive, P.O. Box C-11025, Seattle, WA 98111. Or donate online at seattletimes.com.

Kids in need around the world get school supplies they need to thrive through Federal Way-based World Vision’s school supply campaign. Donations help to purchase school supply basics as well as teaching materials, textbooks, sports equipment, PPE and remote learning tools. Make your gift at worldvision.org.

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.

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 NestingInstinctsSeattle.com and a certified AWA writing workshop facilitator at Compasswriters.com.