Sunday, August 7, 2011

School Supply Drives For Uptown Students

Here's a personal story:  I went to Chicago Public Schools from K through 8.  My dad, who raised me alone, didn't make a lot of money, so I always had basic school supplies, but I didn't have or expect "extras," like laminated book covers with pictures of sports stars or celebrities on them, like my classmates had.  My book covers were always brown paper grocery bags turned inside out.  They worked fine, and I wasn't the only kid in my class to have homemade, or cheap, book covers.  But they marked me as a a "poor kid" and I was embarrassed about them.

Now, imagine you're a kid whose family can't afford, or won't spend their money on, even basic school supplies for you.  The upcoming school year hasn't even started, and you're already behind.  You don't have the materials to start learning when school starts.  Imagine your anger, your embarrassment, and how well you'll be equipped to learn when you don't even have pencils or paper.

That's why all three of Uptown's aldermen are holding school supply drives this month, to help put those kids on an even playing field and give them a chance to learn and be educated.

There are a lot of reasons not to give, and it's purely up to you if you want to, or are able to, participate.  "I already pay a lot of taxes to the schools."  "Why do people have kids if they can't afford them?"  "Why should I pay for these kids when I see their parents spending money on cigarettes and beer?"  "I don't have kids, why should I pay for someone else's?"

All very good points, and we stress that donating is purely voluntary, purely altruistic.  We encourage you to do it because these are KIDS.  They have no control over their own lives.  They are solely dependent on others to provide what they need.  They may have great parents who can't afford school supplies.  They may have lousy parents who don't make the kids' needs a priority.  They may have no parents, period.  They may have no homes!  (Nearly 100 students at McCutcheon School alone are homeless.)

They are kids, and they are powerless, and if you can help a couple of them out through a donation, large or small, then please take part in one of the three local school drives.  Details are here:

46th Ward:  Ald. Cappleman will be collecting supplies at his office (4554 N Broadway) through September 9th.  A list of what is needed is on his website.

47th Ward:  Ald. Pawar is collecting school supplies at his office (4243 N Lincoln) through August 26th.  A full list will be in next week's newsletter, but there is a particular need for pens, pencils, folders, notebooks, flash drives, markers, and crayons.

48th Ward:  Ald. Osterman is joining with Sen. Steans, Rep. Cassidy and Care For Real is providing school supplies through an adopt-a-student program.  "Donors will sign up to sponsor a student who will receive either an elementary school or high school bag. The bags, on average cost $75, but less expensive lists are available as well. The drive ends on August 19 25th." Sign up here.


  1. Here's the list for the 46th ward:

  2. Head to Target and load up on the sale-priced school supplies, then take them down the block to Alderman Cappleman's office! I just dropped off a couple bags of stuff. Glue sticks, crayons, pencils, pens, notebooks, looseleaf paper, pencil sharpeners—most things under $1 each. Lots of 50¢ notebooks at Staples, some 45¢ notebooks at Target. Glue sticks at Target are 20¢ for a two-pack. Basic folders are 25¢ each in the display at the back of Staples.