As a mother of three, Roscoe Office Team Leader Barbara Polk knows how daunting it can be to purchase school supplies. This year, the cost of back-to-school supplies has reached record levels, In addition, many family incomes are suffering as a result of the pandemic.
When Polk pitched the idea of a school supply drive to aid schools on Chicago’s West Side, her fellow Roscoe team members were all in. The project quickly picked up steam and Polk and her fellow team members had soon collected $9,000, including donations from a variety of Roscoe vendors. The company matched the donations in honor of Roscoe’s 100 year anniversary last month.
We are proud to say that two elementary schools and one middle school in the Lawndale neighborhood received $18,000 in school supplies and cash donations to each school’s Parent Teacher Association.
“Everyone was excited about doing it,” Polk said. “In this area, there is a lot of need. Many children come to school without supplies.”
Polk has overseen a lot of community service projects for Roscoe as a 22-year employee. She said she enjoyed shopping for the best prices for the items so that more children could benefit from the supplies.
Back-to-School Supply Spending is at an All-Time High
Back to school shopping is at record levels this year with parents spending an average of $848.90 per child on school items, $59 more than last year, according to the National Retail Federation.
This year, in addition to traditional back-to-school supplies, parents have the added costs of pandemic supplies like masks and hand sanitizers.
Electronics Among the Greatest Need
Calculators are among the most expensive items on the back-to-school list so Polk made sure to include 100 scientific calculators for middle school students on her shopping list, along with paper, pencils and crayons for elementary students.
How You Can Help
There are few efforts as satisfying as helping to fill the backpacks of needy school children, especially in a year in which “back-to-school” is a relief on multiple levels.
Luckily, there are lots of ways to help. If you are interested in helping the students who attend Chicago Public Schools, Chicago’s Children First Fund has a wide variety of options, including donations to help provide critical support to schools, students and families facing adverse circumstances. The fund was established to promote the growth and success of Chicago Public Schools through philanthropy and partnerships.
And thank you again to our partners and team members who helped make this such a successful effort.
Image: (from left to right) Barbara Polk, Julia Buik, Principal Donella Carter, Sergio Pena