NCDC, Norris team to donate supplies to needy kids

Alexander Pegg and Alexander Pegg

Needy students in Evanston’s middle schools and elementary schools could have a few more pencils and notebooks this school year from Northwestern students’ donations during Fall Quarter.

Northwestern Community Development Corps teamed with Norris Bookstore and on Thursday dropped off more than $1,500 in donated school supplies to local kids who need them.

This quarter’s drive marked the second time NCDC and Norris Bookstore have collaborated to collect school supplies from NU students, said Scott Wolf, co-chairman of NCDC. The first drive during Spring Quarter raised about $1,000 in supplies, and for this quarter’s drive Norris Bookstore added more than $300 to NCDC’s $1,200 donation.

All supplies were donated to “Kids and School Supplies,” a local organization that distributes the supplies to middle and elementary school students in the Evanston area, said Wolf, an Education senior.

Each quarter the school supplies were collected from NU students who decide to buy more than just their own books during their trips to Norris Bookstore to stock up before classes.

“NCDC stood outside the bookstore and encouraged students when they went in to buy their books to buy a few extra supplies — rulers, pens, pencils, notebooks, everything,” Wolf said. “Some faculty members donated as well.”

Norris Bookstore General Manager Jerry Jacobson said the store didn’t hesitate to help out with the program. In addition to working closely with the group, the bookstore also provided a place for NCDC to store the collected supplies.

“When (NCDC) came in the first time to talk to us, it was something we wanted to be part of,” Jacobson said. “It helps us give back to the community here.”

Wolf said Education junior Rebecca Maltzman started the program last year as a project for her service learning program, part of the School of Education and Social Policy’s curriculum.

“She was involved in something like this in her hometown and she wanted to bring it here,” Wolf said. “She coordinated with (Kids and School Supplies) and we agreed to help out with the drive and take it over (after Spring Quarter).”

Wolf said he hopes when the drive is repeated during Winter Quarter and in subsequent years it will be expanded outside of NU to include other Evanston school supply locations.

“My hope is that we could get collection bins at places like Osco (Drug) and Office Max, especially in September when kids are going back to school and there is a lot of traffic in school supplies,” Wolf said.

John Otto said he was pleased with NCDC’s efforts to fill a community need and with the group’s partnership with Norris Bookstore, but he agreed with Wolf that broadening the project’s reach would be beneficial for all parties involved.

“I think it would be more effective if they expanded the scope to community stores,” said Otto, a Weinberg freshman. “I feel like they would be more successful if they pursued other sources of donations (other than students).”

Veena Sriram lauded the program but suggested publicizing the drive outside NU.

“It’s an amazing thing to do, but they should publicize it more,” said Sriram, a Weinberg sophomore. “I don’t by my supplies at Norris and didn’t know about it.”