The goal is to give the students who need it the necessary material to be successful this school year.
TACOMA, Wash. — Toy Rescue Mission President Martha Davis can’t wait for Saturday and is spending Friday getting ready.
The mission will be hosting a back-to-school raffle in Tacoma and has filled 600 bags with protractors, calculators, crayons and everything else students need.
The drawing will be held in the back lot of the Tacoma Rescue Mission at 607 S Winnifred St.
In addition to school supplies, children and adults can be vaccinated. The Toy Rescue Mission partnered with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department to provide COVID-19 vaccines to anyone at least six months old.
“I want these kids to feel that somebody loves them,” Davis said. “I’m really excited, it’s going to be a good day.”
Davis says the goal is to try to prepare as many students as possible because many start the school year without the resources they need.
“We got the school list from Tacoma Public Schools and they told us these are the items the kids need to come to school with,” Davis explained. “We talked to a number of schools and they said only 40% of kids have everything on the list, so we’re trying to get between 40% and 60-70% so we can hit as many kids as we can.” .
Data from the 2020-21 school year shows that 62 percent of Tacoma Public School District students qualified for free or reduced lunch programs.
Amid higher food and gas prices, Davis says this kind of help is vital because, for many in Tacoma, there isn’t enough to cover that expense.
“My goal is to fill the gap to provide these kids with these extra supplies and get them to school,” she said.
This year, Tacoma Realtor Richard Miller helped Davis raise nearly $17,000 in supplies for this year’s raffle. He says he reached out to Davis because he remembered a time when he needed help.
“I also come from a background where I needed things as well,” she said. “Most of the people who donate and support our movement are people who tell me they used to be one of those kids.”
Miller hopes he and Davis can continue to work together to serve the community.
“Last year we made 312 backpacks, this year we will make 600,” he said. “We will continue this partnership. I think the more people you can bring together who have the same passion to serve the children in our community, the more we can do.”
Miller says putting on an event like this isn’t easy, and called on donors from around Tacoma and around the country to raise funds to make it happen.
Jimmy Bagalini, owner of Cuban Plug and the main donor for the event, said he was excited to be a part of the raffle.
“I just want everybody to have what I had, to have what my kids have,” she said.
Meanwhile, Davis says all the work is worth it as long as it makes a child happy.
“Kids come in and see all these things and their faces light up and they get excited because they see so much,” she said. “If you can give that feeling to someone else, then go for it!”
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