It may not be spring time, but in homes throughout the city and suburbs, families were cleaning and organizing in the days leading up to Labor Day – and the Chicago Chesed Fund’s first annual Back-to-School Clothing Drive.
More than 230 families in 18 neighborhoods donated nearly 2,000 bags and boxes of clothing and housewares, surpassing totals from the organization’s highly successful Passitover campaign in March.
“We were completely shocked – and grateful for – the tremendous response we received,” says Mrs. Laurie Babendir, the Chicago Chesed Fund warehouse manager. “At Pesach time, everyone is cleaning and has things to give away, but at the end of the summer, people are busy with the upcoming school year and the holidays. We really appreciate the fact that so many people made the time to donate.”
On Sun., Sept. 2, volunteer drivers, along with 20 students from Fasman Yeshiva High School, made donation pickups in neighborhoods throughout Chicago, as well as neighboring suburbs of Buffalo Grove, Deerfield, Highland Park, and Morton Grove.
The students spent nearly six hours, in unseasonably warm temperatures, lugging bags and boxes of all sizes and shapes.
“It means a lot to know that our fellow Jews truly benefit from all the time and effort that we put into [this project],” says Akiva Frishman, an 11th grader from Minneapolis who organized his schoolmates for the drive.
Tenth grader Gavi Porush of Chicago agreed.
“Having helped in the warehouse, I have seen all the great things that the Chicago Chesed fund does. By helping at the clothing drive, I was able to help other Jews and make a difference in their lives,” he says.
Sorting has already begun on the mountain-sized pile of donations, and according to Mrs. Babendir, the warehouse manager, there is something for everyone.
“There is everything!” she says. “There are beautiful shoes, toys, games, Yom Tov clothing, tops for ladies and girls – and that’s only what we sorted so far.”
It will take several weeks for volunteers to sort, organize and display all of the items, and that means that the many families who shop at the Chicago Chesed Fund will have much to choose from in the months ahead.
“The Chicago Chesed Fund really is a community organization,” says Mrs. Babendir. “So much of what we give away is given to us by community members who want to do their part to help, and who are happy they have a place to give it where it will really make a difference.”
Photo captions: (Top) Students from Fasman Yeshiva High School collect bags of donations during Chicago Chesed Fund's Back-to-School Clothing Drive on Sept. 2. (Middle) A group shot of all the Fasman Yeshiva High School students who volunteered for the Back-to-School Clothing Drive. (Bottom) Some of the nearly 2,000 bags and boxes of goods generously donated by over 230 families in 18 neighbrhoods.back to stories