Mary Michell, family support specialist, goes through the dozens of new backpacks and other school supplies that are to be distributed to eligible South Whidbey and Coupeville students by Readiness to Learn Foundation. (Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)

Mary Michell, family support specialist, goes through the dozens of new backpacks and other school supplies that are to be distributed to eligible South Whidbey and Coupeville students by Readiness to Learn Foundation. (Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)

Program offers free ‘back-to-school’ supplies

Appointments needed before classroom items distributed

  • Tuesday, August 21, 2018 6:20pm
  • News

New school supplies are once again being offered to eligible South Whidbey and Coupeville families at no cost by Readiness to Learn Foundation’s Back-to-School program.

Only this year, the annual “shopping” event takes place at its new South Whidbey Community Center location.

Trendy, colorful new backpacks, notebooks, pens, pencils, folders, lunch boxes and other supplies are spilling out of boxes at the program’s new office, a converted classroom of the former Langley Middle School.

Before supplies can be distributed, parents, guardians or unaccompanied youth must schedule an appointment. South Whidbey and Coupeville residents are eligible.

“We have already scheduled 105 students and expect to schedule many more,” said Gail LaVassar, executive director of Readiness To Learn Foundation.

“Last school year we assisted 320 students,” LaVassar said. “The program will run through the first two weeks of school. However, we will provide supplies to any student in need throughout the school year.”

The goal of the back-to-school program is to help children feel ready to learn on the first day of school. Sometimes, a brand new backpack does wonders for self-esteem and successful learning, said Mary Michell, family support specialist.

The program is completely community-funded. Letters are sent out to previous donors and the response is always generous, LaVassar said. Many local businesses and organizations also contribute money and supplies; drop boxes are also located at churches and Ace Hardware in Freeland.

• Back-to-School Program: South Whidbey and Coupeville parents and unaccompanied youth can make an appointment to shop for school supplies by calling 360-221-6808 ext. 4321 or emailing rtlfprograms@readiness tolearn.org

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