“For most of us, the shift from fall to winter is a happy time as the holidays approach, but for many in Illinois, the approach of winter means finding ways to keep their families and children warm,” said Wheeler. “It may come as a surprise, but the most needed item for those faced with homelessness is actually socks. While items like coats and knit hats are hugely important, a simply donation of socks can be every bit as important to those fending off the cold this winter.”
The Office Depot Foundation has donated more than 3.7 million backpacks since 2001 to help deserving children get the items they need for school and to keep warm in winter. This year, Office Depot partnered with the NFWL to help Wheeler and Lilly support the disadvantaged through Fraternite Notre Dame’s homeless shelter and soup kitchen.
It is important to note, that according to recent data from the Federal Government, the number of homeless children in the U.S. has doubled since the recession. Given this reality, local donation efforts that provide school supplies and winter garments have become increasingly important for children throughout the country, including Lake and McHenry Counties.
In addition to the backpacks and socks donated, local McHenry lawyer and philanthropist, Ed Donahue, provided a major boost to the effort at Fraternite Notre Dame this year. While the emphasis on sock donations was strong this year, the traditional need for scares and gloves was lacking. Donahue graciously helped meet the need this year.
“Today’s effort was a starting point to provide and encourage important charitable donations throughout our communities this year,” said Wheeler. “Thanks to programs like this from the Office Depot Foundation, NFWL and assistance from philanthropists like Mr. Donahue, we will be working on similar efforts as winter approaches to meet the need that exists at schools in the 64th district.
“Fortunately, our area is blessed to have a number of great charitable and local government options to help those in need. However, if there is a need in the community that requires extra help, please reach out to one of my offices in either Crystal Lake or Fox Lake. Working together is the key to combating childhood homelessness and poverty,” Wheeler concluded.