Playtime: As school year draws near, ways to help kids in need

Communities in southern Snohomish County are always pleasantly surprising me with inclusion and community support. Like the hundreds of people who rallied for our teachers, and those who called the Edmonds Police Department to share their/our frustration that the spray-painted swastikas weren’t being considered a hate crime, and the positive response in cheering for the diverse groups in the Edmonds Kind of 4th parade. The Edmonds School District is home to so many great charities that provide assistance to local children in need, and I’ve rounded up some great ways to help as we head back to school.

Last year, Washington Kids In Transition — a grassroots organization created by moms in Edmonds — provided over 30,000 snacks to homeless children in the Edmonds School District. Just as they did with great success last August, Kids in Transition has planned a Summer Community Packing Party. If you would like to help, you can bring individually wrapped and pre-packaged snacks and help pack them for distribution throughout the school year. Suggested item include granola bars (no nuts), cheese and crackers, fruit-type snacks, and macaroni and cheese cups. The packing party will be held Wednesday, Aug. 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Edmonds United Methodist Church, 828 Caspers St. There will be pizza for dinner before the packing starts; the group asks that you offer a small donation to offset the cost. This event is a great and easy way to get kids involved as it is basically a loop where you wait in line until it is your turn to fill a bag with the requisite items before handing it off and heading to the back of the line. For more information on the Summer Community Packing Party you can visit the Facebook event page or call 206-697-3385.

As our community rallies to support our teachers, I thought it would be a good time to mention the Hazel Miller Back to School Basics teacher grants through the Foundation for Edmonds School District. This grant, awarded by a lottery, provides $125 for a teacher to use for classroom supplies. If you are on social media or know any teachers, this is the time where you hear the most about just how much they spend of their own money properly equipping their classrooms. You can find more information and the lottery form HERE.  The Celebrate Schools 5k, which has a 5K fun run and a battle of the bands in the Alderwood Mall parking lot Oct. 7, is already taking registrations for teams. Every year I see posts from this event and the band competition seems so great. You can find more information on this fun event, including team registration, HERE.

The Celebrate Schools 5k benefits the Foundation for Edmonds School District, which operates the Nourishing Network – currently providing summer meals and fun physical activities at a few local churches. The summer meal program, which requires only a participation waiver, offers continued assistance to those served with after-school and weekend snacks during the school year. The meals last through Aug. 24 for children ages 5 to 18 and you can find more information on times and locations HERE.

By following Holly House on social media, I have found that they work year round to gather enough clothes, toys, and supplies to cater to the children from 15 Edmonds schools for the holidays. These include year-round donation bins, which accept new toys, pajamas, socks, underwear, books, stuffed animals, dental supplies, hats, scarves, etc., at Sparta’s Pizza and Spaghetti in Lynnwood and the Mountlake Terrace Senior Center. And there are events like The End of Summer Bash fundraiser on Aug. 26 from noon to 3 p.m..

Admission for the bash, held at New Sound Church at 3702 214th St. S.W. in Mountlake Terrace, is a new gift for a Holly House child or $15 per family. Suggested gifts are Legos, headphones, sports equipment, dolls, art kits, skateboards and bikes. The bash will include a DJ playing music as Wonder Woman, Batman and Disney Princess Jasmine mingle with the kids. There will be face painting, crafts, an obstacle course and a hot dog and nacho stand if you’d like to buy lunch. Holly House will also be holding a raffle with prizes being different themed baskets including Princess, Ninja Turtle, and the likely popular Wine and Chocolate basket. You can find all the information to join the End of Summer Bash on the Facebook event page HERE and year-round at

Clothes for Kids is an organization that helps any child who attends school in Snohomish County or the Northshore School District and qualifies for free/reduced lunch at their school. I attended their Transforming Lives Breakfast last fall as a guest of My Edmonds News and was able to hear the story of how this organization helps children not just stay warm with a coat, but also choose nice clothes and everyday necessities like socks and underwear so they can be comfortable both physically and socially. They are located 16725 52nd Ave. W., Suite B, right down the street from Meadowdale High School, and have a big green collection bin in back for donations of new socks, new underwear, hats and gloves, warm clothing or jeans. If you are interested in helping Clothes for Kids, they are about to have two different volunteer meetings, either Wednesday, Aug. 16 at 11 a.m. or Thursday, Aug. 17 at 6 p.m. The new Program Coordinator, Heidi Nornes, will introduce herself and go over the plans for opening the week of Back to School shopping, which will be Aug. 23-25. If your family is in need of assistance, request the Clothes for Kids “Requisition for Clothing” form from the school office. The form has all the information on it, including hours and directions, and there is no appointment necessary to shop. For more information on the different ways to help, you can visit their Facebook events page HERE or by checking out

McDonald McGarry Insurance, 630 Main Street, is hosting a donation drive for Treehouse for Kids, which supports foster children. They are requesting durable backpack, jeans and hooded sweatshirts, but will happily accept donations of new clothing or monetary donations. Treehouse for Kids offers foster children free shopping in their “Wearhouse” for clothes and other essentials, academic support, “Little Wishes” like summer camp, art programs or ASB fees, and holiday gifts as well. You can drop off your donations at McDonald McGarry weekdays through Friday, Aug. 25. For more information, you can reach them at 425-774-3200.

— By Jennifer Marx

Jen Marx, a mom of two young boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time. You can find her on Twitter trying to make sense of begging kids to ”just eat the mac n cheese” @jen_marx.


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