Backpacks for Kids heads into 13th year

The boxes are out in the community and the school buses are parked where people will notice them: The 13th annual Backpacks for Kids campaign has begun.

Cecilia Shumate peeks out of the window of the school bus parked at Fire Station 45 in Bothell.

The boxes are out in the community and the school buses are parked where people will notice them: The 13th annual Backpacks for Kids campaign has begun.

Last week, lead organizer Cecilia Shumate — in her seventh year heading the program — handed off 65 boxes to Bothell, Kenmore and Woodinville businesses, civic buildings and churches to collect school supplies for the Northshore School District’s campaign that began July 13 and will run through Aug. 3. (A list of collection sites can be found at

To draw attention to the campaign, two school buses are parked in Bothell (at Fire Station 45 and at the Anderson Building) and one in Woodinville (at the Carol Edwards Center). All three have Backpacks for Kids signs on them.

“We’re trying to capture the folks that live in all the communities that support the Northshore School District,” Shumate said of the boxes and buses.

The school district, Woodinville Chamber Education Committee and the Northshore Kiwanis are coordinating the drive to benefit Northshore students whose families are unable to send their children to school with necessary school supplies.

Shumate said that last year they filled 825 backpacks; this time out, they are expecting to fill 850-plus backpacks.

“To me, it’s very important that every child has the capability of coming to school on that first day prepared. Just like each of their peers, and to be able to blend in and not be noticed. To be there on equal footing with every child in their classroom,” said Shumate, who added that school nurses and office managers will distribute the backpacks when classes start.

Shumate said she’s heard that the kids — pre kindergarten to grade 12 — all sport smiles when they receive their backpacks, which will be assembled by volunteers ages 4 to 80 on Aug. 10 at the district’s board room in Bothell.

“Office managers tell me it’s nothing more than simple pleasures for these families to know that they’ve received some assistance, and their kids are good to go for that first day of school,” Shumate noted.

Shumate is currently looking for volunteers to help assemble backpacks. Student community service hours are available upon request. Contact Shumate at (425) 408-7670 or

Monetary donations (payable to Backpacks for Kids) can be sent to the Northshore School District Administrative Center, 3330 Monte Villa Parkway, Bothell, WA 98021.

Requested supplies that every student needs include: new, sturdy backpack (neutral colors), color pencils (eight or 12 count), two-inch three-ring binder, markers (wide tip), No. 2 lead pencils, dividers (five count), eraser/eraser tops, 12-inch ruler, scissors (blunt and pointed tip), pencil pouch, glue sticks, notebook paper (college and wide rule), blue or black ink pens, spiral notebook (college and wide rule), red ink pen, pocket folder (no metal clasps), crayons (16 or 24 count), highlighter and composition notebook (college and wide rule).

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