Returning to school can be an exciting time for a child. It brings classmates back together for another year of growth and learning.
Back to school time can also be a financial hardship for some families. Children need school supplies, immunizations and health care, new clothes and more. Addressing these needs is what inspired Family Support Centers of Lutheran Community Services Northwest to partner with several Puget Sound communities and groups to hold Back to School Fairs.
This year, over 3,600 children and families were served through Back to School Fairs in SeaTac, Port Angeles, Granite Falls, Lake Stevens and Everett. Students received free backpacks, school supplies, healthcare, community information and more—all thanks to community generosity.
“For the past 10 years the Back to School Fair has provided critical support to ensure all our students are given the tools they need to be successful,” said SeaTac City Council Member Tony Anderson. “It’s great to see the City of SeaTac community working together to do great things for the children attending SeaTac area schools.”
Erin Anderson, Resource and Support Specialist at the Granite Falls Family Support Center, expressed similar sentiments.
“Feedback from school staff reflects how important the Back to School Fair is in starting students off on the right foot for academic and social success,” she said. “Returning to school with new backpacks and supplies contributes to their feeling of normalcy and offers notable relief for parents and guardians.”
Back to School Fairs rely on community involvement and support. Backpacks, school supplies, clothing, healthcare, and personal services are provided through donations. Volunteers assemble supplies and help staff the event. School districts, service organizations, local businesses, churches, libraries and community groups collaborate to make these events a success.
“This is truly a great event. Ten years of success is a testament to the importance of the Back to School Fair,” concluded Council Member Anderson. “Supporting some of our most vulnerable kids in such a fun and inclusive way really speaks to the nature of our community. I hope this event continues into the future.”