Cradles To Crayons Hosts Fourth Annual Backpack-A-Thon At Daley Plaza

Lisa Fielding
August 21, 2019 - 1:43 pm
Cradles 2 Crayons Hosts Fourth Annual Backpack-A-Thon At Daley Plaza

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- It was a party like atmosphere at the fourth annual Backpack-A-Thon in downtown Chicago. A DJ pumped up the crowd as rows and rows of volunteers formed an assembly line to fill thousands of backpacks.

"We have 800 volunteers and our goal is to fill 50,000 backpacks in under three hours today," said Shoshana Buchholz-Miller, Executive Director, Cradles to Crayons.

From art supplies and notebooks, to writing tools, glue and rulers, Buchholz-Miller said each backpack is filled with everything Chicago Public Schools requires.

"I'm in charge of zipping up the backpacks. I'm the zipper," laughed Jae Jackson, CBRE, Chicago. Jackson is one of hundreds of corporate volunteers who spent the morning stuffing the backpacks.

"I seal the deal," she laughed.

Cradles 2 Crayons Hosts Fourth Annual Backpack-A-Thon At Daley Plaza
WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

Buchholz-Miller said some students will also get back to school clothing.

"We provide clothing packs filled with shoes, clothes, boots, coats, hygiene supplies, bedding, books, toys you name it," she said.

Cradles 2 Crayons Hosts Fourth Annual Backpack-A-Thon At Daley Plaza
WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

One in three children in the Chicagoland area lives in poverty. So, Buchholz-Miller said, children who have these essentials are more likely to attend school, complete homework, and have a chance at success.

"Not having the right supplies is one of the top 10 reasons kids don't go to school. Our goal is really is to take those reasons off the table if we can and to give them something they can be excited about," Buchholz-Miller said.

Items like backpacks and back-to-school clothing are essential to prepare children mentally, emotionally, and physically for school.

Cradles 2 Crayons Hosts Fourth Annual Backpack-A-Thon At Daley Plaza
WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

"We love that children are smiling and happy when they get our backpacks and are excited to get those new crayons and markers and really feel they're worthy and have value," she said.

The backpacks will be distributed to schools and community organizations, and will be waiting for students on their first day of class Tuesday, Sept. 3.

Cradles 2 Crayons Hosts Fourth Annual Backpack-A-Thon At Daley Plaza
WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

Cradles to Crayons is a national non-profit organization with locations in Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago that provides children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive at home, at school, and at play. 

Cradles to Crayons supplies these items free of charge by engaging and connecting communities that have with communities that need, collecting new and like-new children’s items through grassroots community drives and corporate donations. Donations are processed and packaged by volunteers at warehouses called “Giving Factories” and are distributed to children through a collaborative network of social service agencies and school partners.