Gear Up for School 
A Gig Harbor Kiwanis program to provide new school clothing and supplies
for elementary and middle-school students on the Key Peninsula.

Research shows children who lack clean presentable clothes and the necessary school supplies are not able to focus on learning. These children are at risk for failing to gain the skills essential to pursuing a productive life.  

To help these children, our club launched Gear Up for School in1997. Since then we have helped over 3,300 low-income children--from kindergarten through 8th grade--start school ready to learn. We provide the students with a new set of clothing and grade-appropriate school supplies. 
Gear Up for School has become the Gig Harbor Kiwanis Foundation’s signature program.

In August, volunteers descend on the Key Peninsula Middle School to arrange hundreds of new pairs of jeans, shirts, socks, shoes, jackets, and backpacks.  We also unload and organize truckloads of school supplies. Finally, we bring in the bicycles, a product of our partnership with the Washington Correction Center for Women in Purdy. The joy on a child's face when he or she wheels out a bicycle is priceless.

Quote from Sharon Shaffer, Principal, KPMS

“Once again, it was heartwarming to witness the outpouring of kindness to the Key Peninsula community as you provided new clothes, bikes and school supplies for hundreds of struggling families. I cannot imagine the hours and energy you all have devoted to gather funding, purchasing, organization, set up, and the kind distribution of these gifts to families. Your faces have become familiar to us; they are generous, smiling, supporting, and understanding faces—Familiar faces of service oriented Kiwanians. For my community, I wish to say “thank you.”

“Thank you for the delight in the first grader’s eyes as she picked out that tiny pink t-shirt with a matching jacket. Thank you for the 6th grade guy’s joy as he shouted to Grandma, “Hey, there’s a calculator in this bag for me!” Thank you for the peace in so many mother and father’s faces as they left here this morning knowing that each of their children had a complete new outfit for the first day of school. I see those same sweatshirts, jeans, t-shirts, and shoes throughout the year.”

Quote from Terry Bouck, former Superintendent, Peninsula School District.

“Schools alone cannot ensure success for every child and that is where the Kiwanis Club's contribution is so critical in coordinating resources and volunteers through the Gear Up Program. l The commitment and support of the Kiwanians is helping our youth to successfully learn, stay in school, and prepare for their future.”

Our Partners 

Angel Guild
Burrell Printing
Cutters Point
Dick and Patti Shaffer
Key Peninsula Fire District 16
Gig Harbor Kiwanis Foundation
John and Terry Harrington
Keiko Wada (Opalescence Dentistry)
Kohl’s Associates in Action
Lance and Marilyn Colyar
Lindquist Dental Clinic
Payless Shoesource
Peninsula Light Company
Peninsula School District
Toyota Lift Northwest
Washington Corrections Center for Women