- Chicago Newstips by Community Media Workshop - http://www.newstips.org -

Bridging the School Supply Gap

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Many CPS students in low-income neighborhoods come to school without the basic supplies they need to participate in class — and teachers often end up spending hundreds of dollars out of their pockets on supplies like notebook paper, pencils and pens.

World Vision’s Teacher Resource Center tries “to bridge that gap,” said Amber Johnson. Working with the School and Home Office Products Association, World Vision collects donations from school supply companies, and teachers come to the center to “shop” for supplies they need, for no charge. Last year TRC distributed over $1 million in free school supplies to thousands of students in Chicago, Johnson said.

Over 70 Chicago schools participate, and more are on the center’s waiting list, she said. Participating schools have 70 percent or more of their student body eligible for free lunch.

TRC also offers “incentive items” like toys and stickers, and this year the group is giving away 3500 backpacks through local schools and through church tutoring programs set up with help from World Vision’s Kidreach program.

World Vision is a faith-based humanitarian organization supporting relief projects in 100 countries around the world. In addition to the Teacher Resource Center, the group runs a building supply resource center offering donated building supplies at low cost to churches, community organizations, and low-income families in the Chicago area.