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July 11, 2014 at 6:04 AM

Spotlight on Project Cool for Back-to-School

The Seattle Times’ annual school supply drive is in full swing. Want to help the cause? Make a donation at http://seati.ms/edschoolsupplies. All proceeds benefit Hopelink, the YWCA of Seattle-King County-Snohomish County and the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness.

This week, volunteers for the Coalition’s annual Project Cool for Back-to-School worked diligently to assemble supplies at the Columbia City Church of Hope in South Seattle. Once glue sticks, rulers, pens, pencils and backpacks were separated into massive piles, volunteers began the days-long process of filling more than 1,300 backpacks.

Here are some photos from the event via my Instagram feed:

Next week, their hard work pays off when case workers throughout the county pick up those donations and distribute them to students in need before the fall.

What makes the program unique is its focus on children from families in transition, living in emergency centers or on the streets.

One of the volunteers, Polly Jirkovsky-Gual, brought her 7-year-old daughter Unity Jane to help out.

“When I was growing up, my mom would buy school supplies for kids in need,” she said. “I wanted to continue the tradition with my own kids, and it was really fun to work together.”

By giving their afternoon to the cause, Jirkovsky-Gual says the kids were able to learn an early lesson on life’s many challenges, including homelessness.

“A project like this is very concrete, so it’s a good thing for the kids to do. They have their own school supplies, so they get how if you don’t have pencils, it’d be hard to do your work,” she said. “The goal is not that they know the specific child they’re helping, but they get the sense they’re helping other kids.”

To find out more about the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness’ Project Cool and other programs for homeless students, go to this link.

Comments | Topics: homelessness, project cool, school supplies

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