School kids to benefit from group’s drive

lpemberton@theolympian.comAugust 12, 2013 

The Little Red Schoolhouse Project will hold its annual school supply giveaway for families in need on Thursday at Capital High School in Olympia.

“Donation-wise, we’re very hopeful; it’s been quite an excellent year,” said co-chairwoman Judy Kimeldorf. “People seem to know about us and have been very generous and have included us in their back-to-school shopping.”

Last year, the Olympia-based nonprofit provided backpacks, three-ring binders and other school supplies, as well as clothing, to 3,133 Thurston County school kids.

“It meant 900 families, give or take a few,” Kimeldorf said, adding that it was a record number for the organization.

Little Red Schoolhouse formed in 1991, when residents and representatives from local social service agencies, churches and businesses formed a committee to ensure that children have the basics to return to school with pride.

“It’s just so critical for students to have the supplies they need so they can come to school ready to learn,” said Olympia School District spokeswoman Rebecca Japhet.

Besides school supplies, the Little Red Schoolhouse will have coats, vests, socks and underwear available for students.

“We did a survey last year, and these were the items people said they needed the most,” Kimeldorf said.

On Friday, Olympia radio station Mixx 96.1 hosted a 12-hour donation drive for the effort. Even with a downtown power outage causing some traffic issues, Kimeldorf said, the event was successful.

“We really have appreciated the community’s support,” she said. “We’re looking forward to a wonderful distribution day and a lot of happy children.”

If you go

A school supply giveaway is set for 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday at Capital High School, 2707 Conger Ave. NW, Olympia. The event, organized by the Little Red Schoolhouse Project, is open to all families in need with children enrolled in Thurston County schools. Proof of financial need is not required.

Those who want to help can drop off donations between 8 a.m.-2 p.m. through Wednesday at the high school. For more information, go to

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 @Lisa_Pemberton

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