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Free school supply programs in Chicago.

All of the Chicago agencies listed below will give away free back to school supplies to children from low income families. The organizations collect items from the community then provide the clothes, book bags, notebooks, shoes, Chromebooks or tablets and other school supplies to free for needy students. The list below is only a sampling of potential school supply assistance programs. There may be other options too, and find free clothing banks in Chicago.

What may be passed out every year will vary. Much of it is determined by what school supply items are collected by Back to School Illinois, which coordinates many of these events across the City of Chicago and greater Cook County region. They partner with groups to help struggling families, immigrants, children from urban school districts and others. Children from low income families and those in need may be given some or all of the following.

  • Kindergarten students - Crayons, Plastic folders, shoes, lunchbox, tissues, glue sticks, pencils, games, and clothing.
  • Elementary School students - Free pens, Three-ring binders or whole punches, calculators, backpacks, erasers, highlighters, scissors, and more. Clothes and uniforms as well as winter coats are also given out from a free school supply event.
  • Middle School & High School - Permanent markers, Graphing calculator, Combination locks, Subject dividers, socks, books, slacks, jeans, Post-Its, free laptop computers and more. Free clothes that are more stylish for the back to school season are given too, and the clothes are gender and age specific.

The examples and list above is only part of what is offered in the Cook County region. Many organizations have dozens of other items for kids going back to school. They may be supplies or clothing type goods available all across Chicago. It is recommended to call in advance.

Academy for Urban School Leadership
Address: 3400 N Austin Ave
Chicago, IL 60634
Main Phone: (773) 534-0129




Chicago Department of Family & Support Services
There are several centers in the city. The main office is 1615 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Phone: (312) 743-0300
They will direct very low-income families to school supply events. There is help for immigrants, families in poverty, as well as single moms or dads. Free back to school supplies are given out along with cash assistance, welfare, food, and more. Students may be given backpacks, free clothes for school, notebooks, pens, pencils and maybe a laptop too for distance learning.

Other offices include:

  • Garfield Center, 10 S. Kedzie Ave., dial 312.746.5400
  • North Area Center, 845 W. Wilson Ave., telephone 312.744.2580
  • Trina Davila Center is at 4300 W. North Ave. Call 312.744.2014
  • King Center - 4314 S. Cottage Grove, Illinois. Main number 312.747.2300.
  • South Chicago Center DFS office - 8650 S. Commercial Ave., Call 312.747.0331
  • Englewood Center, 845 W. 69th St., Chicago, IL 60621. Dial 312.747.0200

Cook County Salvation Army and Chicago centers
Whether it is a free toy for a birthday or Christmas, or free seasonal school supplies in July or August, items are available. The Christian faith-based church assists thousands of needy households each year. They give clothing, free uniforms, back to school supplies, food, and more. Or seek financial aid, counseling, and other support. Find locations on Salvation Army programs in Chicago.

The Harbour Inc.
1440 Renaissance Dr., Ste. 240
Park Ridge, Illinois 60068
Main Phone:  847.297.8540
The charity helps the homeless and Chicago families living in poverty. Those with children can be given free books, clothes for school, bags, winter gear, and more. The goal is to help a child from a low income family have the confidence they need for the school year.





JCC Chicago
A faith based Jewish Group, but all religions can get help. Call  844.452.2244 or 844-4-JCC-CHI for information or to apply. They also have day and summer camps, care for seniors, and financial aid. This is in addition to school supply programs.

Main Address: 3605 W Fillmore St
Chicago, IL 60624
To apply, call (773) 588-0180

YWCA Metropolitan Chicago
1 North LaSalle Street, Suite 1150,
Chicago Illinois 312.372.6600
Many social services are offered. They include a child care assistance program as well as after school activities. There are also clothes for school, book bags, and more. Both single moms and their kids can get help.

United Way as well as Back to School Illinois
Almost all the organizations below partner with Back to School Illinois. While it does depend on donation levels and the commitment of volunteers, in general there are thousands of students assisted each year. Free school supplies, tablets, shoes, bags, winter coats, and more is given. The goal is to ensure kids are prepared for the upcoming year. Call 211.

Heartland Alliance
208 S. LaSalle Street, Suite 1300
Chicago, IL 60604
Telephone number is 312.660.1300

Chinese Mutual Aid Association
Address: 1016 W Argyle St
Chicago, IL 60640
Main phone - (773) 784-2900
While they assist immigrants (including Chinese and Asians) anyone can apply. Clients can learn about housing, GED or educational programs, ESL classes and much more. In addition, free supplies for a school year are given. Based on donations there may be tablets, pens, pencils, notebooks, and other supplies.

Chicago Children's Advocacy
Address is 1240 S Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 492-3700
Students can get free backbacks with items on them, including markers, Pencil cases or pens, lunch or supply boxes, Paper note cards, Glue, Hand sanitizer and more.







The Chicago Public School System Holds Back to School Bashes
There are multiple events held all around the city as well as Cook County. CPS collects donated items from the community, both individuals and corporations. Students from pre-K to high school get get the resources they need for the year.

There are also free immunizations, haircuts, wellness checks and more. Students can get gift cards, backpacks, clothes, sneakers, uniforms and electronics they need and much more. Events are held in places such as DuSable Campus, William F. Finkl Academy, Michele Clark Academic Prep Magnet HS, Christian Fenger Academy HS and many other schools and locations. Call the hotline at 773-553-5437.

Camp of Dreams
Address: 8 W Root St
Chicago, IL 60609
Phone: (312) 649-5551
whether after school programs, or free items for students from K-12, the non-profit tries to help. Children may also be given haircuts, personal hygiene supplies, pens, lunch boxes, paper and much more for the school year.

Boys and Girls Club of Chicago
There are many centers. Each has a summer giveaway. A bag full of school supplies or even gift cards may be given out. There are also haircuts and other activities for students. The locations are: The main customer support number is 312-235-8000.

  • Main Club Support Center - 550 W. Van Buren Street, Suite 350, Chicago, IL 60607. Telephone number is 312-235-8000. This is the main office.
  • Legacy Charter School, 4217 W. 18th Street, Chicago, IL 60623, dial 773-542-1490
  • James R. Jordan Club is at 2102 W. Monroe Street, Chicago, IL 60612, main phone - 312-226-2323
  • Kidz Express Club. Address - 5221 S. Congress Parkway, Chicago, IL 60644, main number 773-417-3917
  • Logandale Middle School?, 3212 W. George Street ?Chicago, IL 60618?. Telephone - 773-877-8153
  • Logan Square Club is at 3228 W. Palmer Street and is in Chicago, IL 60647. The contact number is 773-342-8800
  • Louis L. Valentine Club - 3400 S. Emerald Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60616. Main telephone - 773-927-7373
  • Naperville Club is located at 1313 North Mill Street, Naperville, IL 60563. Main phone 630-335-7037
  • Park Manor Club - Park Manor Elementary School. Address is 7037 S. Rhodes Avenue, Chicago, IL 60619?. Main phone - 773-535-3070
  • Pedersen-McCormick Club address - 4835 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL 60640, dial 773-271-8400
  • SOS Children's Village Club - 7600 S. Parnell Avenue, Chicago, IL 60620. Telephone number - 773-783-0500
  • True Value Club - 2950 W. 25th Street, Chicago, IL 60623. Main number - 773-247-0700
  • Alcott Club - Alcott College Prep, ?2957 N. Hoyne Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60618, dial 773-534-5970
  • Bright Club is located at Orville Bright Elementary School, 10740 S. Calhoun Avenue, Chicago, IL 60617, telephone number is 773-535-6477
  • Brunson Math & Science Elementary - 932 N. Central Avenue, Chicago, IL 60651. Intake number - 872-222-7060
  • Carter Club - Coppin AME Church, 5627 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637. Telephone number is 773-891-1444
  • CC's Little Village Club – Address is 2801 S. Ridgeway Avenue, Chicago, IL 60623. Main phone number - 773-277-1800
  • John W. Cook Elementary School, 8150 S. Bishop Street, Chicago, IL 60620, main phone - 773-425-3809





  • Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. Club may pass out school supplies from 2950 W. Washington Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60612. Main number is 773-638-5464
  • Ford Heights Club, 1401 E. 13th Place, Ford Heights, Illinois 60411. Main number - 708-758-1960
  • Green Club is based at Wendell Green Elementary School. The address is 1150 W. 96th Street, Chicago, IL 60643. Main phone - 773-840-4724
  • John Hay Community Academy, address is 1018 N. Laramie Avenue, Chicago, IL 60651. Telephone number is 773-534-6005.

Pangea Cares
Main address is 549 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60661
Call the non-profit at 312.924.5745
They not only have an annual back to school supply giveaway for hundreds of students, but they also take them on educational trips and experiences.


By Jon McNamara











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