Equipping Students in Blue Island and La Villita with Clothing and School Supplies
“This is incredibly helpful,” said Micah, a Blue Island mom of three sons. She was standing in the parking lot of The Salvation Army Blue Island (Crossgenerations) Corps Community Center, facing a row of tables full of clothes, shoes, school supplies, cleaning products, face masks, and snacks. “It’s really helpful to have clothes that fit them,” she said, referring to her boys. “They outgrow them so quick!”
Micah was one of many parents in Blue Island and Chicago’s La Villita neighborhood who attended clothing and school supply distributions last Friday at Salvation Army corps. The products were part of a nationwide donation to The Salvation Army of more than $975,000 of new apparel from Hilco Global, a privately held diversified financial services company. The items, mostly new children’s sporting and leisure clothes, were to be given to children in need during back-to-school distribution events, like the ones held in Blue Island and La Villita.
Marquetta, another mom at the Blue Island distribution, was especially grateful for the kids’ shoes she received. “The pandemic hit us hard,” she said. “Rent is going up and vehicles are breaking down. This is helpful.” Marquetta, a regular attender of the Blue Island corps’ church and food pantry, also volunteered at the distribution, ensuring that other parents and neighbors in need received the help she knows the value of all too well.
Captain Nivia Paredes, officer at the La Villita corps, noted that backpacks, shoes, and clothes were in high demand at their distribution event. “The community was very gracious receiving new clothes and shoes, and they were excited to find a church in their neighborhood, a place to praise God,” she said. “They felt like our church is taking care of the community.”
This kind of community care is exactly what Hilco had in mind with this donation. Jeffrey B. Hecktman, CEO and Founder of Hilco Global, said, “Helping families, especially children, is a key pillar of Hilco Global’s philanthropic mission. We are delighted to work with The Salvation Army and the communities they serve with new apparel items that are needed to set students and their families up for a successful school year. With The Salvation Army’s impressive network and leadership, we are able to distribute the clothing efficiently to get it to the children and families that need it the most in time for the back-to-school season.”
At the Blue Island corps, Captain Luis Acosta was grateful for their good turnout. He knows the price of many things, including gas and school supplies, is going up, making it hard for those in his community to make ends meet. He hopes events like this one will help those in their community know The Salvation Army is here to help. “I want them to recognize who The Salvation Army is in this community,” he said. “A lot of people don’t know that we’re also a church. We want them to know this is a place to come and feel at home.”