Supply surge helps Washington’s underserved elementary students

Online donations poured in throughout August 2020 during PEMCO Mutual Insurance’s third-annual Supply Surge, resulting in more than 160,000 individual school supplies donated to support homeless and underserved students across Washington.

The 2020 Supply Surge, hosted by the Seattle-based insurer, invited individuals and businesses in Seattle, and employees from the company’s Lynnwood and Spokane offices, to join an online school supply drive to support elementary-aged students with essential items including backpacks, binders, notebooks and many other tools that will help bridge the gap, no matter where learning takes place.

“We went into this year’s Supply Surge knowing that students deserve to have access to essential school supplies, regardless of an in-person or virtual learning experience,” said PEMCO CEO Stan McNaughton. “We are so grateful for the organizations and individuals who made this donation drive a success. It is because of our communities’ ongoing support and compassion during these challenging times that local youth will continue to have the ability to strive towards their academic goals.”

In Seattle, Supply Surge participants consisted of 37 South Lake Union-based businesses that promoted the drive to their employees, customers and neighbours during the three-week online event. Thanks to their collective efforts, and those of countless individual donors, 11 elementary schools in Seattle Public Schools received approximately 116,600 individual school supplies.

PEMCO offices in Lynnwood and Spokane also collected items for elementary schools in their respective communities that have high populations of low-income families and students experiencing homelessness. Together, the Lynnwood and Spokane teams collected more than 44,900 supplies.

To ensure donations reached the schools with the most need, PEMCO partnered with Seattle Public Schools’ McKinney-Vento programme and utilised data from Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The Supply Surge online platform invited participants to select which region their donations would support. At the completion of the drive, all supplies were equally divided among the predetermined areas and delivered directly to the schools to be included in their respective distribution methods.

Huyen Lam, principal at Rising Star Elementary in Seattle noted, “The supplies helped us to create personalised learning kits for every student since we will not have students share materials like we often do in school.”

Tammy Watson, administrative secretary at Lowell Elementary in Seattle added, “In times when we need hope, these beautiful, hopeful things do happen! Just know how much PEMCO and the Supply Surge team are appreciated!”

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