Gateway: Living

Community groups gather, distribute supplies to get low-income students ready for school

Happy KPMS student shoppers Kyle Fritcher and Caleb Tweet are assisted by Kiwani volunteer Carol Arnold as they prepare for the school year.
Happy KPMS student shoppers Kyle Fritcher and Caleb Tweet are assisted by Kiwani volunteer Carol Arnold as they prepare for the school year. Special to the Gateway

Gig Harbor Kiwanis Club members turned Key Peninsula Middle School into a free department store Aug. 5, ensuring that all students appear on campus fully supplied with new school materials, backpacks, clothing, shoes and even bicycles.

A convoy of SUVs and trucks emptied the local CenturyLink warehouse where clothes were stored. Other trucks hauled bikes stored in a Kiwanis member’s garage and the Washington Corrections Center for Women brought a load of bikes as well. By day’s end, tables in the KPMS commons were laden with clothes. Racks full of coats and hoodies filled one area, and the stage was stacked with boxes of new shoes.

Lunch was served to families waiting for the doors to open the next day, and a long line waited for an ice cream cone prepared by a member of Gig Harbor High School’s Key Club. Just inside the door, Lindquist Dental provided quick exams and fluoride treatments.

“This year 190 low-income Key Peninsula students were provided grade appropriate school supplies,” said event chair Daphne Frickelton.

Bikes were handed out to 104 children. The Key Peninsula Fire Department custom fit bike helmets.

Gear Up Partners included Angel Guild, Burrell Printing, CenturyLink, the KP Fire Dept., Gig Harbor HS Key Club, Gig Harbor Kiwanis Foundation, Kohl’s Associates in Action, Lindquist Dental, Payless Shoe Source, Peninsula Light Company, Peninsula School District, Walgreens and the Washington Correction Center for Women.

“We would not be able to put this program on without the generous help of our 13 partners,” Frickelton said. “With their help we put smiles of the faces of 190 children and their families. Since the program’s inception in 1997, we have helped over 4,700 students. That’s a WOW number to me. I am so proud of my club for their commitment to help children on the Key.”

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