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Oswego Resident Helps Bring School Supplies, Scholarships to Illinois Students

Illinois Currency Exchange Charitable Foundation helps students from low-income families get ready for school.

Credit: Screenshot, www.icecf.org
Credit: Screenshot, www.icecf.org
On Wednesday, the  Illinois Currency Exchange Charitable Foundation (ICECF) will host its annual luncheon to kick off efforts to make sure Illinois students have what they need to start the school year off right.

Oswego resident Darrin Russell, a regional sales director for Western Union and an ICECF board member, said the Chicago-based non-profit partners with YMCAs to provide school supply kits to kids throughout Chicagoland.

In addition to the Back 2 School supply kits, the organization offers a college scholarship program and a "Boot Camp" program to stamp out obesity among students in Chicago Public Schools.

In 2013, the ICECF provided school supply kits — with everything from pens and pencils to rulers, glue and other necessities — to more than 25,000 kids from low-income families, Russell said.

By the end of this year, the agency will have given out more than three million school supplies. The vast majority — about 95 percent — of students who received Back 2 School supply kits came from households earning less than $33,000 per year, and 63 percent came from households with an income of less than $10,500.

Russell, who has been on the ICECF board for four years, said the group is based in Chicago, but working to expand its footprint throughout the state.

This year, Russell said ICECF board members are hoping to reach even more students with the Back 2 School program. This year, the goal is to raise enough money to provide more than 30,000 students with supply kits.

According to Russell, the progam is the largest school supply distribution in Illinois.

"You can just see it on their faces — [the kids] really, really appreciate it," he said. "It makes it worthwhile."

May 28 fundraiser

Wednesday's fundraiser is set for 11:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Maggiano's Banquets, 111 W. Grand Ave., Chicago. 

Emcees will be  NBC5 news anchors Daniella Guzman and Stefan Holt. 
 
A college scholarship will be given out during the event.

Tickets for the Back 2 School luncheon are available through www.icecf.org and are $105 each. Additional donations to ICECF can also be made online.


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