Quick and Easy: Supplies for Dreams’ Build-A-Backpack Day

Bells will be ringing, and big-box stores are running low on No. 2 pencils and One Direction notebooks.

That can only mean one thing: It’s nearly time for kids to head back to school.

Join Supplies for Dreams in providing a year’s worth of school supplies to the city’s neediest students by participating in their annual Build-A-Backpack Day.

What: Supplies for Dreams’ fifth annual Build-A-Backpack Day is gearing up to pack more than 2,000 backpacks for Chicago Public School students in dire need. The backpacks, filled with a year’s worth of school supplies, equip all students with the tools to receive a quality education.

In addition to the backpack assembling, the event boasts a slew of family-friendly activities, including carnival games, free food and giveaways.


Where: Northwestern University Lakefill in Evanston

When: Saturday, Aug. 9, 1-4 p.m.

How: Join Supplies for Dreams for an outdoor community event to package 2,000 backpacks with school supplies for Chicago Public Schools students. Volunteers at Build-A-Backpack Day, the organization’s biggest event of the year, have collectively assembled nearly 7,000 backpacks since 2010.

This year, Supplies for Dreams will be providing supplies to its partner schools, Manuel Perez Elementary School, Kilmer Elementary School, Belmont Cragin Elementary School and Bernhard Moos Elementary School. These Chicago Public Schools all have significantly higher amounts of students from low-income homes than the Chicago average.


The organization:

Founded in 2008 by New Trier students (and future Northwestern alumni) Aria Fiat and Hiro Kawashima, Supplies for Dreams provides necessary school supplies and offers mentoring services to Chicago Public School students. Now based at Northwestern University and entirely volunteer-operated, Supplies for Dreams serves hundreds of students each year.

Chicago Public Schools, the third largest public school system in the country, serves more than 400,000 students in 681 schools. Eighty-seven percent of students in CPS are from low-income families, and many cannot afford to purchase basic resources necessary for school. Supplies for Dreams aims to provide students with these critical resources and extracurricular opportunities, including field trips. By providing such resources, Supplies for Dreams allows students a chance for long-term academic and life success.