Back To School Project kicks off

Classes start soon, and the Back To School Project aims to be ready with a stockpile of supplies for students who need them.

Now in its 10th year, the charitable effort sponsored by the Readiness To Learn Foundation and the Family Resource Center, gathers community donations to help outfit students who may not be able to afford essential items.

Last year, donations enabled 250 students from kindergarten through high school to begin the year with new outfits, new shoes and all the notebooks and markers teachers required, said Gail LaVassar, director of the Family Resource Center.

“The financial demands of the new school year are extremely stressful for many families within the South Whidbey community” LaVassar said. “Many parents are worrying about how to pay for school supplies, new shoes, haircuts and new clothes.

“Finances are tight in more South Whidbey homes than usual this year, so we expect an increase in the number of families needing assistance.”

She said the goal this year is to raise $15,000 to help 300 students.

LaVassar said the Freeland and Langley offices of Windermere Realty have donated $1,000, and St. Hubert Catholic Church in Langley has planned a school-supply drive.

LaVassar urged other church congregations and businesses to join in collecting pens, pencils, notebooks and other supplies. Especially needed are sturdy backpacks, binders, dividers and glue sticks, she said.

Lists of needed supplies will be available at donation bins located throughout the area. Watch for Back To School signs at local businesses and churches. Donations can also be dropped off at the South Whidbey Family Resource Center behind the South Whidbey Primary School, 5476 Maxwelton Road, Langley.

“We know that both parents and kids are grateful for the help,” LaVassar said. “One parent told me how her children could hardly wait for the first day of school because they were proud to have new supplies and clothing.”

Donations can be mailed to Back To School Project, PO Box 346, Langley, WA 98260. Call the Family Resource Center at 221-6808 ext. 4322 to volunteer or to contribute items.

To receive assistance, call the center at 221-6808 ext. 4602.

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