Readiness To Learn Foundation presents annual Back To School Project on South Whidbey

Although summer is in full swing, volunteers of the Back To School Project are already thinking ahead to the first day of school.

Volunteers Susan Haskins and Joanie Smith unload backpacks donated by Boeing. Donations of items and time will help the Back to School project give supplies to students in need.


Although summer is in full swing, volunteers of the Back To School Project are already thinking ahead to the first day of school.

“The financial strain of purchasing the supplies needed to start a new school year can cause great stress for many families. It is difficult to afford these items and to replace the clothing their children have worn out or outgrown especially if a family is already having trouble paying rent, a power bill, or worse, is experiencing homelessness,” said Gail LaVassar, Readiness To Learn Foundation’s executive director.

According to the project’s coordinator, Lauri Johnson, the average cost for a backpack and school supplies is $114, depending on the child’s grade level.

“This does not include clothing, gym shoes, or any other necessities,” she said.

The Back To School Project will assist several hundred children before the first day of school on Sept. 4. That leaves just 30 days to collect supplies and raise $14,000.

The generosity of community volunteers and donors has sustained the Back To School Project each fall, and in this 14th year is once again asking for help to provide new school supplies and clothing gift cards to eligible families.

Every year parents and students write “thank you” notes expressing their appreciation for the help. One student wrote, “Thank you! My little brother uses the donated items and now he’s not embarrassed to go back to school.”

Another said, “Thank you for all these cool things now I am really excited for school. Thanks a lot!”

A recent widow wrote, “Thank you so much for the school supplies for my two children. I really appreciate your help during a time of recovery for the loss of a father.”

Local churches and service organizations are already gearing up to assist, and collection boxes will be available this coming week in retail stores for the community to contribute. Items most in need are new backpacks, binders, markers and pencil boxes, just to name a few.

Flyers with the complete list of needed supplies will be available at donation bin locations and there will be signs at local businesses and churches.

Webb’s department store in Freeland is holding a buy one/give one offer. For every backpack purchased at Webb’s, a new backpack will be donated to the Back To School Project.

Donations can be sent to: Readiness To Learn Foundation, Back To School Project, at P.O. Box 346, Langley, WA 98260.

Volunteers are needed to collect school supplies, sort, stock shelves, assist with shopping, set up the tables and more.

If your family, or someone you know can use an extra boost with school supplies this year, call or stop by the South Whidbey Family Resource Center, located on school property next to the kindergarten playground. Family support staff can discuss eligibility requirements with you.

Interested volunteers, donors, or families can contact the foundation by calling 221-6808 ext. 4322 or 221-0484, or by sending an email to Further information is available at the organization’s website:


More in News

No injuries in pair of crashes

Two car crashes on Wednesday in Clinton did not result in any… Continue reading

Firefighter stops chicken coop fire, helps save Langley home

A quick response by a local firefighter may have helped save a… Continue reading

Photo provided
                                A evidence photo taken by police shows a deputy’s AR-15 rifle that was involved in a police-related shooting on North Whidbey in September.
Review: Deputy justified in fatal shooting

A deputy was justified in fatally shooting Navy sailor Nicholas K. Perkins… Continue reading

Planning Commission member Tracy Gilroy speaks during a meeting on Monday. The commission voted to approve amendments made in response to a settlement agreement between Island County and the Whidbey Island Environmental Action Network. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times
Forest practices changes heading to board

Island County Planning Commission voted Monday to amend code related to forest… Continue reading

Dancing Fish Farm to buzz with The Bee Eaters fiddlers

Acoustic concert features fiddling siblings

Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News Group
                                John Bagley, left, makes a preliminary appearance in Island County Superior Court Monday. He’s accused of pawning a telescope stolen from a robotics club.
Man arrested for pawning robotics club’s telescope

A man faces a felony charge after getting caught pawning a telescope… Continue reading

Some costs unknown for East Langley infrastructure project

A proposed multimillion dollar infrastructure improvement plan in East Langley drew more… Continue reading

Flu factors into three Island County deaths in early 2018

All suffered underlying medical conditions

The Admiraly Head Lighthouse at Fort Casey State Park will have some major renovation work done, the majority of it being to its exterior. 2017 File Photo/Whidbey News-Times
Admiralty Head Lighthouse to get facelift sometime in 2019

One of the most famous buildings on Whidbey Island is going to… Continue reading

Most Read