‘Gifts Keep Giving’ for Chicago Teachers at Swap Circle for Teachers

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TRASH TO TREASURE might be a good way to describe materials donated to Chicago teachers. The Creative Chicago Reuse Exchange (CCRx) accepts donations of excess supplies from Chicago businesses and makes them available to Chicago teachers. Items accepted range from school supplies to science equipment. Teachers say the donated items assist them in being creative in the classroom.

Teachers will receive needed supplies and students will be inspired thanks to donations of surplus materials and supplies by local businesses. The Creative Chicago Reuse Exchange (CCRx) is inviting Chicago businesses to donate surplus and overstock items to Chicago teachers to enhance the learning experience of thousands of students.

Teachers can “shop for free” from the donations at CCRx’s Swap Circle for Teachers on Saturday, January 27, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Victor Hall Chicago, 3636 S. Iron Street in Bridgeport. Chicago businesses can drop off donations on January 23-25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., also at Victor Hall Chicago.

Featured items include science equipment from the University of Chicago, materials from Chicago Architecture Biennial, and 300 “left-foot only“ Ugg shoe samples.

“Teachers always scramble for materials to engage their students,” said Barbara Koenen, CCRx founder. “We’re excited to tap Chicago’s businesses – advertising agencies, manufacturers and designers – to share their surplus and encourage creativity in Chicago’s teachers and students.”

CCRx surveyed 500 Chicago teachers for their material needs and dreams. They reported spending $500 to $1,000 out-of-pocket every year for basic office supplies – xerox paper, pens and pencils, glue, even cleaning and personal hygiene supplies. Teachers dream of getting musical instruments, calculators, sewing machines, fabric, wood-working tools, storage containers and shelving, games and graphic novels.

“When you have five classes of 30 young minds to engage every day, you need to inspire them,” said Marnie Ware, Science Teacher at Prosser Career Academy. “You’d be amazed what you can do with the darndest things – from shoes to pvc pipe.”

The list of “Most Wanted Items” is on the CCRx website, www.creativechirx.org. All donations are tax-deductible. People with large items or quantities should contact CCRx for special arrangements at info@creativechirx.org or 312-909-5902.

“We are creating a pipeline for teachers to access things they couldn’t afford or find, but can really use,” said Carolyn Ottmers, CCRx Donations Director.

The Creative Chicago Reuse Exchange is a two-year-old 501c3 nonprofit whose mission is to inspire creativity by connecting Chicago’s teachers and non-profits with surplus.

The event is being co-sponsored by Chicago Teachers Union Foundation and Victor Hall Chicago.

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