Stay classy, Chicago

Posted on July 22, 2011

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Want to donate school supplies for a local youngster? Now’s the time.

(Update Aug. 15) Back-to-school shopping is in full swing. You can still help many drives in the area. Here are a few options in August and September:

Of course, Donors Choose offers year-round options to help local classrooms.

(Original July 22 post below)

When heat indexes run 100+ degrees, it’s hard to think about going back to school. But for many Chicago area students, the new school year starts in about a month.

Here is a list of some of the organizations that are doing good work to get kids ready for school:

  • Catholic Charities will host its annual Back to School Fairs for low-income families on Wednesday, August 3 in Wheaton and Thursday, August 4 in Joliet. Check with Marianne Holzhauer, Volunteer Coordinator: mholzhauer@cc-doj.org if you’d like to help pack supplies in Joliet on Thursday, July 28 or Friday, July 29 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Update 7/26 – They don’t need any more volunteers for packing school supplies, but you can still contact Marianne to be notified for future volunteer opportunities.)
  • You can donate supplies to Chicago Public School students through its partnership with Kits for Kids. Supply kits range from $11 to $18 for all grades.
  • The Walter and Connie Payton Foundation hosts a Back-To-School Supply drive to benefit kids in the Englewood neighborhood. Working with the Chicago Police Department, they’ll hand out backpacks with supplies at the annual Back-to-School Parade on Saturday August 27, 2011.
  • Donors Choose is an online charity that connects you to your local public schools. The website enables public school teachers to post specific classroom needs, and individual donors can pick projects to support. Sort projects by school, subject, dollar amount, teacher and more. (See Chicago area school projects here.)
  • (Added 7/26) Loaves & Fishes food pantry in Naperville is running a virtual school supply drive, called “Packs 4 Kids” from July 18 – 31. For a $20 donation, you can fill one of 750 backpacks the pantry will distribute this fall.

I’m sure this list just scratches the surface. Please add other Chicago-area school supply drives in your comments below.

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