SHORELINE — A backpack full of school supplies, a sharp new hairdo and a new-to-you outfit can make a world of difference on the first day of school.
For the second summer in a row, a group of local organizations partnered to make sure children in the area had the resources and supplies needed to start school on the right foot.
The Back to School Consortium organized an event Aug. 26 at the Center for Human Services on 15th Avenue NE., that provided free, one-stop “shopping” for anyone interested.
The consortium provided each child who registered to attend the event a backpack and almost all of the required supplies asked for their grade level.
Also free were haircuts, provided by stylists from the James Alan Salon and students in Shoreline Community College’s cosmetology program.
Just down the street, housed at Ridgecrest Elementary, is The Works of Shoreline PTA Council. The Works accepts donations of clothing, shoes, accessories and toys and then provides children and families with free items during the school year.
Any interested families were able to browse and select items from The Works’ shelves during 20-minute time periods during the back-to-school event.
To the families in attendance, the support was appreciated.
Shoreline resident Sandra Lopez and her four children were the first people through the doors at The Works. They attended the event before the start of school last year as well, so they had a game plan heading into this year.
Lopez asked her sons to focus on shoes while she roamed the facility for shirts. They found a lot of what they were looking for, she said.
“It’s a total blessing,” Lopez said.
Tami Madigan of Shoreline was with her two children at the Center for Human Services and said she is thankful for the support with school supplies, as they can be expensive.
Last year, all that was missing from her child’s supply list was a protractor for math, saving her quite a bit of money. Her children also both received haircuts at the event.
It is a complete community effort, said Jane Hinton, a family support program manager with the Center for Human Services.
In addition to support from The Works, representatives from the Shoreline School District, the cities of Shoreline and Lake Forest Park, United Way of King County and the Vineyard church helped organize the event.
Lake Forest Park Rotary members grilled hotdogs and the Shoreline/South Snohomish County YMCA, Hopelink, Girl Scouts and University of Washington Medical Center representatives displayed material on their organizations at booths.
There were also opportunities for the children to have fun as arts and crafts, face painting and giant bubbles kept attendees busy.
“We just try to get the kids excited about going back to school,” Hinton said.
Hinton said 347 backpacks full of supplies to children were distributed, and she estimated that more than 500 people stopped by throughout the evening.
Employees from Care Plus Medical Center, church members from the Vineyard and plenty of other helping hands made the event a success, Hinton said.
And the volunteers find value in it too.
Sharon Kudebeh is the chair of The Works and spent many hours making sure it had enough clothing and hygiene products for each family. But the hard work was worth it, she said.
“I really like what we’re doing because to me, kids have it hard enough,” Kudebeh said.