Puyallup: Sumner

Back to school resource fair brings hope

For families on a tight budget, school supply shopping often means choosing between a tank of gas or buying new folders and pencils.

“The average cost of back to school costs $100 per student buying all brand-new items,” said Joannie Hill, Sumner Bonney Lake Family Center coordinator. “For students who reuse supplies from previous years, the cost is estimated to still be $20 to $30 per student.”

In order to help alleviate that financial burden on families, the Sumner Bonney Lake Family Center is continuing its 17-year tradition of hosting a Resource Fair to provide school supplies, backpacks, haircuts, physicals and immunizations to students at no cost.

“It helps children to come in with what they need to succeed,” Hill said. “It allows them to mentally prepare for the school year, and to help them to feel like somebody cares.”

Last year, the fair served 607 students, where the only qualification is to be enrolled in the Sumner School District. With 2,338 students in the district on the free lunch program, Hill says the fair is a needed resource for students in Bonney Lake and Sumner.

Hill recalled one year, where a mom came into the fair and explained how thankful she was for the volunteers and resources, as without it she would have to chose between outfitting her kids for the new school year or to pay the family’s utility bill.

The fair is fully funded by donations from local organizations, and private citizens to help students have what they need to start the school year right.

“It brings hope to families and students for a new school year and alleviates a financial burden to families,” Hill said.

The Back to School Resource fair is 3 to 6 p.m. Sept. 4 at Calvary Community Church, 15116 Gary Street East in Sumner.

To donate, or for more information, call the Sumner Bonney Lake Family center at 253-891-6535.

To volunteer, visit www.volunteerspot.com/login/entry/56440380043.