Brandy Serna could hardly see over the tops of the tables covered in backpacks. She circled a couple minutes, trying to find her favorite when her eyes locked in on a black one.
She pulled the supply-laden bag down, stumbling from the weight of paper and pencils inside.
“I can see it on the children’s faces,” said Cassie Elenes, a volunteer at the Issaquah Food and Clothing bank. “They get excited when they can pick their own markers and bags.”
With combined help from a number of groups, including Kiwanis, the Issaquah Schools Foundation and various churches, the bank was able to fill 1,000 bags for underprivileged students in the Issaquah School District. Sanmar, a local sporting good business, donated all of the bags.
The most successful drive so far, it’s an example of how organizations can collaborate to serve the community better, said Cori Kauk, head of the food bank. “I feel this year people in the community are the on the same page.”
It’s important for kids to feel secure and equipped when they start a new school year, she said.
The bags and supplies, which can cost upward of $50 each, are a heavy financial burden for the families who already have their kids on the free and reduced lunch programs.
Calls to the food bank for financial assistance are the highest during periods of transition, including the start of school and after Christmas.
“It impacts their ability to pay the PSE bill,” Kauk said.
The food bank expects to pass out about 600 of the bags before the start of school. The rest will go to schools for teachers who discover the need in their classrooms.
There about 1,700 students in the district who qualify for the bags.
Christopher Serna gives his new backpack from the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank a first try on.
Each backpack was filled with the tools kids need to begin class.