School supplies collected for those in need | SLIDESHOW

MARYSVILLE — Saturday, Aug. 3, saw the community contribute to two all-day collection drives for school supplies in time for the start of the new school year.

The Tulalip Walmart hosted the South Snohomish County Toys for Tots’ back-to-school supplies drive to benefit the Marysville, Everett and Mukilteo school districts, and its first four hours drew donations of more than $400 in cash from roughly 200 people, in addition to filling a waist-high cardboard box and a shopping cart full of school supplies.

Mary Butler, the local community organizer for the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots Foundation of Snohomish County, estimated that wide-ruled paper, glue sticks and colored pencils were the most donated items of the day.

“The donors have been steady all day,” said Butler, who explained that the cash donations would be divided up among the three school districts and used to purchase school supplies for their respective students. “I’m quite pleased that we’ve been able to take advantage of the name recognition. People see Toys for Tots and they ask, ‘Oh, is it that time of year already?’ So we explain to them that we’re collecting school supplies instead of toys this time. Hopefully, this will be our first annual back-to-school drive.”

According to Butler, Edward Jones of Snohomish County is supplying at least 500 backpacks to fill with school supplies, but she expected the day’s collection drive would not only exceed expectations, but also exceed the storage space of all those backpacks.

“All the Edward Jones offices in the county have been collecting backpacks for a month,” said Butler, who plans to present the school supplies and the backpacks for Marysville students to the Marysville Community Food Bank, so that the school supplies can be packed into the backpacks there.

To that end, Butler reiterated her call for a warehouse where Toys for Tots can set up shop through the remainder of the year.

“We’ve outgrown every facility that’s graciously been donated to us,” said Butler, who can be reached by phone at 425-344-0359 or via email at “And everyplace else we’ve seen so far is being renovated or rented out, which is great news for the economy, but not so good for us,” she laughed. “If we can get 3,000 square feet to use between now and the end of the year, that’s great. If we could get it permanently, we’ll take it.”

As Butler and uniformed Marine Corps Sgt. Randall Murphy collected school supplies at the Tulalip Walmart, so too did a number of Marysville Community Food Bank volunteers strive to “Fill the School Bus” in the parking lot of the Marysville Kmart that same day, ultimately loading up eight banana-boxes full of school supplies and collecting $150 in cash.

“Last year, the Summer Jubilee in Marysville was called off at the last minute, so the folks from the Food Bank pitched in,” said Bonnie Ramsey, coordinator of the “Fill the Bus,” of the former free school supplies distribution event in town. “This year, we decided to start helping out a little earlier, and we got in contact with the Marysville Area Pastors Association, which had already divided up the elementary and middle schools in Marysville between them.”

Working with MAPA, the Food Bank volunteers have set out their traditional red holiday collection barrels throughout town to serve as donation points for school supplies, from now through Saturday, Aug. 10. The barrels are located at the Marysville Kmart, the Grocery Outlet, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, the Marysville Community Food Bank, HomeStreet Bank, Kung Fu 4 Kids, the Ken Baxter Community Center, the city of Marysville’s Parks and Recreation office at Jennings Park, the Marysville Free Methodist Church on Fourth Street and Trusty Threads on Third Street.

“We’ll be handing out about 50 backpacks filled with school supplies to each elementary and middle school in Marysville, and letting the schools distribute them to their own students,” Ramsey said. “The Marysville School District has been really good about letting us use their buses for these drives, because they know that our efforts cover the kids in their schools.”

A list of needed school supplies and more information is posted on the Marysville School District’s website at


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