Here’s one sure sign summer is coming: Make A Splash has already handed out 599 free swimsuits to children who can’t afford to purchase their own – and the nonprofit organization has 500 more on the way.
“We give away swimsuits in the city and in the county,” said Heather Beebe-Stevens, executive director of the Parks Foundation, which runs the Make A Splash in a Kid’s Life campaign.
Last year, Make A Splash gave out almost 2,000 swimsuits, Beebe-Stevens said.
“This is so important because if you don’t have a swimsuit you can’t go in the pool,” she added.
The county’s north and south aquatics facilities open June 13; Spokane Valley’s three outdoor pools open June 14; and Spokane’s public pools open June 16.
Make A Splash also hands out free swim passes to low-income children and Beebe-Stevens said there are never enough to go around.
“Last year we gave out 2,200 passes and still left 540 children on the waiting list,” Beebe-Stevens said. “We hope to get to everyone this year.”
Swim passes will be distributed at the Salvation Army, 222 E. Indiana Ave., on Saturday.
Beebe-Stevens said that people started lining up for swim passes at 6 a.m. at last year’s event.
“Doors opened at 9 a.m., and the passes were gone in 45 minutes,” she said.
On Monday, Spokane Valley Partners will begin distributing passes for Valley pools, said David Stone, emergency assistance coordinator. Families may receive up to three passes for children.
Parents or legal guardians must bring a driver’s license, Social Security cards for everyone in the family, proof of income and proof of Spokane Valley residency dated within the past 30 days – a piece of mail works.
Spokane Valley Partners will also have swimsuits available. Both passes and suits may be picked up from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, while supplies last.
Make A Splash works with city and county aquatics programs as well as with Spokane Valley and Cheney. The pools keep track of the individual passes and only charge Make A Splash for actual usage, Beebe-Stevens said.
“Our costs are a little lower this year, so we hope we can cover everyone,” Beebe-Stevens said, “but we need more donations to do so.”