Need School Supplies? Here’s Your Guide To Back-To-School Giveaways In Chicago

GRAND BOULEVARD — Chicago Public Schools students return these classes Aug. 22 — which means parents and guardians are busy getting them supplies.

But expenses for school supplies have risen along with inflation, and many are still struggling financially from the COVID-19 pandemic. Local groups are hosting school supply giveaways and drives around Chicago to help families.

Block Club rounded up school supply giveaways across the city to help out, whether you’re looking to donate or pick up supplies.

More information about how to prepare for school — like enrollment procedures, health requirements and a list of needed supplies by grade level — is available at CPS’ back-to-school website here.

Have an event we should add? Email [email protected]

Credit: Salvation Army
Free backpacks at a back-to-school giveaway

South Side

Park Boulevard Back to School Event
Families can enjoy music, food, games, a bouncy house, face painting and more as they receive free school supplies. For more information, call Michael Miles at 312-221-5111.
3720 S. State St., in the back of the building
10 am-1 pm Saturday

Discover Shine Bright Back to School Event
The credit card company’s event will have food, music, face-painting and free supplies for students on a first-come, first-served basis in the parking lot of the newly opened Discover Customer Care Center.
8650 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
10 am-2 pm Saturday

Guns Down Books Up
The Rose Cafe will host a peace walk Sunday in Roseland, ending with a community farmers market hosted by Burst into Books where students will receive free school supplies.
11001 S. Indiana Ave.
10 am-noon Sunday

Chicago Urban League Back To School Festival
Free school supplies for kindergarten through 12th-graders will be available at this event, along with COVID-19 vaccines, food, music, raffles and other giveaways.
4510 S. Michigan Ave.
10 am-1 pm Saturday

CPS Back to School Bashes
There will be music, food, games and activities for families. Students can pick up school supplies, meet their teachers and get vaccinated against COVID. The events run 2-5 pm
Tuesday: Fenger Academy High School, 11220 S. Wallace St.
Wednesday: Chicago Vocational High School, 2100 E. 87th St.
August 12: William F. Finkl Academy, 2332 S. Western Ave.

9th Ward School Back to School Event
Ald. Anthony Beale — in partnership SC Johnson, Save the Children, Nickelodeon and Pullman Community Center — is hosting a family-friendly event with games, food and fun. Students can receive backpacks filled with supplies, learning materials and other resources.
10355 S. Woodlawn Ave.
4-7 p.m. Aug. 9

Lakeside Alliance Open House & Back to School Event
Lakeside Alliance, the builder of the Obama Presidential Center, is hosting a back-to-school event at its resource center location. Attendees can pick up school supplies and construction trades career information at the open house.
1514 E. 63rd St.
1-3 p.m. Aug. 12

10th Ward Back to School Giveaway
Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza is hosting the Back to School Block Party on the Far South Side. School supplies will be given away in limited quantities. Children must be present and live in the 10th Ward.
10500 S. Ewing Ave.
10 am-noon Aug. 13

Credit: Max Herman/Chalkbeat
Students and staff walk the halls of Senn High School in April.

4th Ward Giveaway
Ald. Sophia King is teaming up with state Rep. Kam Buckner, Meridian of Illinois, Near North Health, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Sen. Robert Peters, and Cook County Commissioner Bill Lowry for a back-to-school event with free resources for residents, as well as free mammograms, vaccinations and haircuts.
Ellis Park, 3520 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
2-6 p.m. Aug. 16

Back to School Giveaway
Toci, La Diosa is hosting a giveaway where each child will receive grade-level-appropriate school supplies, and organizers will hold a raffle to give away a backpack full of school supplies. A conversation about mental health will follow at 7 pm
3656 E. 106th St.
5-7 p.m. Aug. 16

City Motivators Back To School Giveaway
The nonprofit is hosting this giveaway with backpacks, school supplies, food and drinks, music, games and raffles.
Local Market Foods, 2101 E. 71st St.
4-6 p.m. Aug. 17 or until supplies last

Back to School & Wellness Event
The South Chicago Neighborhood Network will give away supplies during its free event. Families can enjoy food, games and entertainment. There will also be a bike raffle.
9100 S. Brandon Ave.
10 am-12:30 pm Aug. 18

West Side

2nd Ward Back To School Fair
Fun, games and free school supplies will be on tap for residents. Those in need of vaccinations. are invited to fill out this interest form. Contact Ald. Brian Hopkins’ (2nd) office at 312-643-2299 or [email protected] with any questions.
800 block of North Leavitt Street at West Rice Street
2-6 pm Friday

Ramirez Back to School Family Fair
Rep. Delia Ramirez and Sen. Omar Aquino is hosting the Back-to-School Family Fair this weekend at The Bloc. There will be live music, games and activities, free food and resources, along with free school bags with supplies for adults who attend with their children. Families can renew drivers’ licenses and IDs, receive school physicals, health screenings and STI/HIV services. Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations for everyone 6 months and older will also be available.
1345 N. Karlov Ave.
10 am-2 pm Saturday

Credit: Stacey Rupolo/Chalkbeat
Students in the hallways at North-Grand High School in Chicago.

International Masons and Eastern Stars Parade & Cookout
The William V. Banks Grand Lodge & Lillian Gill Grand Chapter will host the free event Saturday in Levin Park, kicking off with a parade at noon and capping off the event with a cookout, games and a backpack giveaway. Children must be present to receive a book bag.
5458 W. Kinzie Parkway
Noon-8 pm Saturday

CPS Back to School Bash
There will be music, food, games and activities for families. Students can pick up school supplies, meet their teachers and get vaccinated against COVID.
Michele Clark High School, 5101 W. Harrison St.
2-5 p.m. Aug. 11

North Side

Chicago Tabernacle Back to School Weekend Celebration
The North Side church will kick off the weekend with a backpack giveaway and end it with a special Sunday service. Kids can receive free dental screenings while enjoying food and games. Backpacks filled with school supplies will be given away until supplies last.
3231 N. Cicero Ave.
9 am-2 pm Friday

491st Ward Back to School Bash
Ald. Maria Hadden (49th) is hosting a giveaway where families can pick up school supplies as they play games and learn about other resources available to them.
1500 W. Lunt Ave., next to Eugene Field Elementary
2-5 pm Friday

Credit: Max Herman for Chalkbeat

CPS Back to School Bash
Music, food, games and activities for families. Students can pick up school supplies, meet their teachers and get vaccinated against COVID-19.
2-5 pm Friday
Field Elementary School, 7019 N. Ashland Ave.

RefugeeONE Back To School Backpack Donation Drive
The North Side organization providing services to refugee families is collecting 400 backpacks full of notebooks, paper, crayons, pens and pencils, and other supplies ahead of Saturday’s giveaway.
Unity Lutheran Church, 1212 W. Balmoral Ave.
11 am-1 pm Saturday

Kelvyn Park Back to School Fair
Students can receive free backpacks, school supplies, dental exams and COVID-19 vaccinations while checking out local vendors. There will also be food and activities for kids.
4438 W. Wrightwood Ave.
10 am-2 pm Aug. 13

Chicago Near Northside Neighborhood Back To School Event
1 JAR Foundation, a gun violence prevention nonprofit in honor of 9-year-old Janari Ricks, is hosting a school supply drive in partnership with Hug A Child Make A Change.
The group is collecting donations through Aug. 13 and is looking for school supplies, book bags, snacks, beverages and gift cards for young people to buy other essentials for school. Volunteers are needed for the event. Call 312-383-1965 for information on dropping off donations.
18th Police District parking lot, 1160 N. Larrabee St.
Noon-4 pm Aug. 14
Monetary donations accepted here
You can also support the group’s Amazon wish list here


  • Cradles to Crayons is accepting monetary donations for school supplies. A $33 donation will support clothes and supplies for the first week of school. The first $40,000 in donations will be matched. Link
  • Back to School America is inviting people to build or buy school supply kits containing about 30 items each. Each kit for various grade levels costs $22.50. Link

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