As they filed into their school gymnasium on Thursday, students from New Sullivan Elementary School were excited to find CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett there to wish them happy holidays.
The CEO came bearing gifts – new winter coats for all 508 students courtesy of the District’s first-ever “Love a Child” coat drive.
“Of all the schools in the District, we feel blessed to have been selected to be a part of this exciting event,” said Shannon Shockley, the assistant principal at New Sullivan. “These gifts will be of great benefit to our students, and the children and their families are very appreciative.”
Coordinated by the District’s Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, the coat drive called on churches, community partners and Central Office employees to give generously during the holiday season. New coats were also distributed at Chalmers and Parker elementary schools, which along with New Sullivan have the highest percentage of CPS students in temporary living situations.
“It’s better to give than to receive, especially around this time of year,” said Reverend Renaldo Kyles, Director of the CPS Office of Faith-Based Initiatives. “I thank our CPS staff, our sponsors, and our faith partners for joining in this effort to help Chicago’s underprivileged children.”
The initial goal was to collect 1,800 new coats for students in grades Pre-K – 8. But thanks to the generosity of CPS staff, along with community members, corporate sponsors and over 65 neighborhood churches, more than 2,370 coats were collected during the months of November and December. The surplus coats will likely be used to support students who utilize CPS’s Safe Haven programs during the winter break.
“Part of our daily work is to meet all our students’ needs, academically, emotionally and physically,” said Assistant Principal Shockley. “This coat drive gave people who want to support CPS schools a phenomenal opportunity to express their love and concern for children.”