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School supply donations help Puyallup children in need
School supply donations help Puyallup children in need
Posted on 10/27/2015
DSC_7313touseJanwithEricJohnsonGeneralManagerCostcoPuyallupMore than 20,400 school supplies, including 8,648 pencils, 932 glue sticks, and 591 new backpacks have been donated this year by area businesses, service organizations, and individuals to help children in need.


This is the tenth year that Communities In Schools (CIS) of Puyallup has partnered with the Puyallup School District to coordinate a school supplies drive during the first three weeks of August.


The retail value of this year’s donations is just shy of $30,000, said Jan Mauk, executive director of CIS in Puyallup. Supplies were boxed and distributed to schools districtwide before the start of school.


“I continue to be amazed at the outpouring of support from the community to provide basic learning tools that every child needs to be successful in school,” Mauk said.


She continued, “As the number of students in poverty grows nationwide, the need for community support in meeting their learning needs becomes increasingly more important.”


Nationwide, 51 percent of public school students from urban, suburban, and rural areas across the country are living in poverty, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.


In Puyallup, more than a third (35.3 percent) of students enrolled across the district last spring received free or reduced-price meals. Several elementary schools reported in excess of 60 percent signed up for the federal meal program available to low-income families.


“Imagine having six out of every 10 kids in a class qualify for free or reduced-price lunch,” Mauk said. “The need is great.”


Nearly three dozen businesses, organizations, or groups supported this year’s effort by organizing a drive or offering to be a drop-off donation site, she said. Several of the businesses or groups have participated for all 10 years, while others have been consistent supporters for at least the past five years.


The Puyallup Costco store, for example, has donated hundreds of backpacks every year over the past decade. This year, the company donated 431 new backpacks, as well as some binders, composition books, erasers, pens, and mechanical pencils.


Red Canoe Credit Union has also been integral to the program’s success, Mauk said. For the sixth straight year, the company coordinated a “Fill the Canoe” school supply drive at its Puyallup locations and at numerous businesses and organizations throughout the community.


The drive brought in nearly 3,600 pounds of school supplies this year, and Red Canoe Credit Union matched donated supplies pound-for-pound.


Countless other businesses have also supported the drive over the years, Mauk said, including the South Hill Mall, City of Puyallup, Good Samaritan Hospital, Washington State Fair, and Puyallup-Sumner Chamber of Commerce.


In addition to the thousands of school supplies, other local companies, faith-based organizations, service clubs, and individuals contributed to the success of the drive by volunteering time to sort and inventory items sent throughout the district.


People interested in donating additional school supplies throughout the year may contact CIS of Puyallup at (253) 840- 8917.


Read more on the district website about how CIS is partnering with the community to help students, including providing bags of nonperishable food items to feed families in need on weekends.