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Donations needed for back-to-school drive

NAPERVILLE – The mission of the Loaves and Fishes Community Pantry in Naperville is to provide opportunities for low-income families to get the resources they need on a daily basis. One of the ways they do this is by collecting school supplies for students in need.

The pantry, 1871 High Grove Lane, is hosting its annual Packs4Kids virtual back-to-school  drive through July 31, accepting $25 donations online and donated items.

Items that will be bought include: spiral notebooks, glue sticks, supply pouches, pocket folders, pink erasers, blunt-end scissors, pencils, pocket folders and rulers. 

“Packs4Kids is such a worthwhile program,” said Jody Bender, director of community engagement for Loaves and Fishes. “It prepares children to learn and break the cycle of poverty, and relieves financially stressed parents who know their children are prepared to succeed in the classroom.”

Last year, 1,891 children received supplies from the drive, she said. The pantry anticipates more than 2,000 children benefiting this year.

“With the escalating cost of school supplies, it is a challenge to properly equip one child with the basics, let alone multiple children in one family,” she said. 

Loaves and Fishes serves 600 families in DuPage County. About 60,000 pounds of groceries are supplied every week to those families, according to the pantry.

It provides other services such as a career center and school nutrition programs as well. 

“We try to be a nice role model (for the families); we’re not just putting a Band-Aid on it,” Bender said. 

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