Student Basic Needs

Highline Schools Foundation is committed to meeting the basic needs of the students in Highline Public Schools. With nearly two-thirds of all students in the district qualifying for free or reduced priced meals (the best proxy that we have for poverty), we recognize that we must provide students with the food, clothing, shoes, and school supplies that they need to be successful in the classroom. We have four programs that meet those needs.

Project N.O.W. (Nutrition on Weekends)

Project N.O.W. (Nutrition on Weekends) is a program that supports Highline Public School students who are food insecure. At the elementary and middle school level, it provides students with a free backpack full of food to take home for the weekend—all school year.

Project N.O.W. - Nutrition on WeekendsRecent studies have demonstrated that nutrition affects students’ thinking skills, behavior, and health, all factors that impact academic performance. Research suggests nutritional deficiencies early in life can affect the cognitive development of school-aged children, and access to nutrition improves students’ cognition, concentration, and energy levels. (Wilder Research, January 2014).

While students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch have access to breakfast and lunch on school days, we know that many of our students lack nutritional meals on the weekends and on extended holiday breaks. That is why we started Project N.O.W. (Nutrition on Weekends) to ensure that our students have adequate healthy, easy-to-prepare meals on the weekends. The program launched in 2014 with one school and now serves five elementary schools plus a middle school and high school.

At the elementary and secondary level, a weekend’s supply of food is sent home with students each Friday in a backpack. The empty backpack is returned on Monday, and the process repeats itself each week. At the high school level, a food pantry is set up where students can access food to be eaten either at school or can be taken home at night.  Additionally, funds from Project N.O.W. are used to help students who run out of funds in their accounts at school so that they can eat during the day.

Stories from the food pantry at Tyee:

  • J.T. lives at home with grandparents, mom, aunt, uncle and teenage cousin. He and his mom stay in the garage that has been turned into a one-room apartment. As a result of there being so many people at home, there isn’t always enough food after school and on the weekends. As a result, he accesses the pantry on a weekly basis to take food home. The items include Cup Noodles; Top Ramen; peanut butter and jam; along with several fruit bars, mac n’ cheese and juice/water.
  • A.E. currently lives with his elderly grandmother. They are both refugees from Iraq and while A.E. speaks English, his grandmother does not. Oftentimes, he is responsible for interpretation and translation at home and has to navigate school, work, transportation and other systems on his own. I’ve been asked to sit-in on his student-led conference since his grandmother is not able to get here on her own. He also accesses the pantry on a weekly basis.
  • J.F. is the eldest of 3 girls and is responsible for watching them after school every day while her mom works late into the evening. Due to living in a single parent household, there hasn’t always been enough food at home for her sisters and herself. She happily took home peanut butter, jam, crackers, Top Ramen, Cup Noodles and juice. She was glad to access to these items while her mom worked to get back on her feet. She only accessed the closet once since her mom has been able to provide for the family.

Kicks for KidsKicks for Kids

When families are struggling financially, they often cannot afford new shoes for their students. Students arrive at school with wet and cold feet, unable to fully participate in recess and Physical Education classes.

The Kicks for Kids program provides new shoes (and socks) for students who have outgrown their shoes or whose shoes are falling apart. These shoes are distributed through our counselors and family engagement liaisons primarily in elementary schools.

Stories from Madronna Elementary School about the Kicks for Kids program:

The first day I received shoes from Kicks for Kids, I gave out four pairs. The next day, two students with holey and broken shoes came into the office from recess because there was ‘something wrong with their shoes’ – both left with a new pair of shoes as well as a student who couldn’t participate in PE because was wearing her sister’s shoes – that were four sizes too large for her. ~ Kathy Allen

School Supplies

pencilsThe purchase of basic school supplies and a sturdy backpack can be daunting for a family that is struggling financially. Students need a good binder, paper, pencils, and other school supplies to be successful in the classroom.

Highline Schools Foundation is engaged in providing backpacks and school supplies to students in need. We help in the distribution of these backpacks through three summer resource fairs in Des Moines, White Center, and SeaTac. Students from the elementary and middle schools in each area are invited to the fairs to pick up a new, sturdy backpack full of school supplies. Additionally, backpacks are provided to each school and the district’s family center for those who run out of supplies throughout the year.

Students Who are Homeless

Highline Public SchoolsFor those students who do not have a permanent home, clothing, shoes, and food are difficult to find. Highline Schools Foundation partners with the district’s McKinney-Vento Program Family Support Liaison to identify needs and help to fill them.

Some of the support provided this last year include: gift cards for groceries, school uniforms, shoes, coats, and certificates for vision screenings and glasses.

How can you help?

Gifts of all levels are welcome and provide important resources for Highline students.

Annual Support

Resources That Can Be Provided


Provides 25 students in need with weekend food for an entire school year or uniforms for 100 students or shoes for 170 students.


Provides 10 students in need with weekend food for an entire school year or uniforms for 40 students or shoes for 70 students.


Provides 5 students in need with weekend food for an entire school year or uniforms for 20 students or shoes for 30 students.


Provides 1 student in need with weekend food for an entire school year or uniforms for 4 students or shoes for 7 students.


Click on the blue “Donate” button above to make a secure, encrypted credit card donation online. You can make a one-time or recurring monthly donation.

By Mail: Please make your check payable to Highline Schools Foundation and mail to:

Highline Schools Foundation
15675 Ambaum Blvd SW
Burien, WA 98166

Questions? Please email us at [email protected] or call us at (206) 631-3120.

Inspirus Credit Union: Where Banking Benefits Education Pollock Insurance, Inc.
Thank you to Pollock Insurance for their help in expanding the food pantry’s in the high schools; 2018 Sponsor Inspirus Credit Union and Stuart Steadman, Realtor®, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Project N.O.W. 2017 Lead Supporter