Dep Mayor Andrea Zopp Kicks Off Event to Help 10,000 Children

Cradles to Crayons®
Cradles to Crayons®

Deputy Mayor Andrea Zopp & Public Officials to Kick Off Event to Help 10,000 Children
More than 200 volunteers come together for Chicago children in need

Cradles to Crayons® will celebrate the 1st Annual Ready for School Backpack-A-Thon®, presented by Allstate Insurance, on Thursday, August 18th at the Hilton Chicago (720 South Michigan Avenue, Stevens Salon B). This is the kick-off event for Cradles to Crayons® in Chicago, a national non-profit that will serve local children in need year-round by providing essential school supplies, clothing and much more.

Deputy Mayor Andrea Zopp, Chicago City Council members, state legislators, and other elected officials will join Bernard Cherkasov, Executive Director of Cradles to Crayons, and more than 200 volunteers from Chicago’s leading companies to fill 10,000 backpacks with new school supplies in a high-energy assembly line.

Founded in 2002, Cradles to Crayons® has cumulatively delivered 328,827 backpacks of brand new school supplies to children in need in Boston and Philadelphia.  For the first time, this year 2016,  Chicago will receive gifts of school supplies for children to prepare them for the first day of school from Cradles to Crayons®.

On August 18th, as many as 15 Nonprofit Service Partners in the Cradles to Crayons Chicago network, including Academy for Urban School Leadership, WINGS Program, Inc., Northwestern University Settlement House, and Heartland Alliance, will be picking up their share of backpacks.

In addition to 10,000 backpacks being prepared in Chicago, highlights of the event include oversized lawn games, lively music and dancing, teams in coordinated t-shirts, interviews with Chicago Public School principals, and The Golden Pencil awards—participatory superlatives like “Rookie of the Year,” “Best Dancers,” and “Backpack Boogie”—given to teams that really gave it their all.

Cradles to Crayons serves children living in low-income or homeless situations year-round by collecting new and like-new children’s items, including clothes, books, shoes, nursery items, baby safety gear, and more.

Babies that have benefited from Cradles to Crayons®
Babies that have benefitted from Cradles to Crayons®

With other seasonal initiatives such as Gear Up For Winter aimed towards cold weather, Spring Greening which focuses on warm weather items and the benefit of reusing items has on our planet, and Gear Up for Baby that aims to supply a baby with all the essentials, Cradles to Crayons is nearing the milestone of serving its one-millionth child.

More information on Cradles to Crayons initiatives, donation guidelines, and volunteer information can be found on their website,

Please mark your calendar

What: Cradles to Crayons® 1st Annual Ready for School Backpack-A-Thon event

Who: Deputy Mayor Andrea Zopp
31st Ward Alderman, Milly Santiago
Illinois State Representative, Will Guzzardi
Illinois State Representative, Luis Arroyo
Cook County Commissioner, Luis Arroyo, Jr
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner, Debra Shore
Cradles to Crayons Chicago Executive Director, Bernard Cherkasov
WINGS Program, Inc., CEO, Rebecca Darr
Corporate support volunteer teams include: Allstate, Ropes & Gray LLC, Heitman LLC, Northern Trust, InnerWorkings Inc., Mesirow Financial Inc., Bank of America, and Polished Nickel Capital.

When: Thursday, August 18, 2016, 10:00am

Where: Hilton Chicago, Stevens Salon B, 720 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605

Why: Approximately 200,000 children in Chicago live in low-income and homeless situations. The 10,000 backpacks stuffed with age-appropriate supplies at this event will be distributed at no cost to Chicago children in communities with the highest need to prepare them for the first day of school. 100% of teachers we surveyed said that children are excited to go to school after receiving a Cradles to Crayons backpack. 95% of parents felt less stress knowing their child has access to this resource. The National Retail Federation states that families with children in grades K-12 plan to spend an average $673.57 on apparel and accessories, electronics, shoes and school supplies this year. This is an expense that families served by Cradles to Crayons can’t afford, making these backpacks a critical resource for local children’s academic success.


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