CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago based Back 2 School Illinois’ school supply distribution has become a staple for thousands of kids every summer, but this year it is launching its first every holiday drive.

“We’re known for our school supply distribution ahead of each school year, between July and September, but this year we’ve launched a campaign for the holidays,” said Matthew Kurtzman, CEO, Back 2 School Illinois.

Kurtzman said often times by January students have run out of necessary school supplies so the winter campaign just makes sense.

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Back 2 School employees load up a truck filled with supply boxes. (Photo provided by Back 2 School Illinois)

“A lot of students use up or lose their school supplies by the first of the year. It’s nice for parents who can’t afford to buy Christmas gifts because often times, the supplies can be a gift under the tree,” he said.

During the month of December, they hope to give out to 2,000 kits.

“We’ve got one [giveaway event] up at Camp Duncan in Ingleside. We’ll have about 500 kids there. They’ll get our kits, some clothing and a visit with Santa. We’ve got two [distribution events] with DCFS in Springfield and Chicago and we’re doing one at the Great Lake Naval Station for military families. It’s a partnership with Operation Homefront,” Kurtzman said.

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Students receiving their school supplies kits (Photo provided by Back 2 School Illinois)

The Chicago distribution will be Dec. 9 at the Kroc Center.

Kurtzman said there are over 1.2 million students in Illinois living in low income households. Last year alone, B2SI provided more than 890,000 school supplies to these students.

“Many families are choosing between paying the gas bill, pay the rent or do we buy school supplies. A lot of times school supplies just don’t make it on the list,” he said.

There are four different kits offered.

“Younger kids kits contain construction paper, crayons and other things. Older student kits will contain paper, protracter, ruler, pens and things like that.”

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An example of one of B2SI school supplies kits (Photo provided by Back 2 School Illinois)

Back 2 School’s goal this season is to raise $35,000.

“This is more than just school supplies. For many kids, it’s about self esteem and whether or not a child feels worthy of learning and the stigma they feel being in class and not having the supplies, and having to ask the teacher or a fellow student, simply because they don’t have it,” Kurtzman said.

B2SI is launching the campaign, which runs from today through Dec. 31, to raise funds to support its ongoing work to provide educational opportunities for under-served Illinois children.

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A student opens her school supplies kit (Photo provided by Back 2 School Illinois)

To participate in the campaign, donors can visit www.B2SI.org/holiday and click on the “Donate” button in the upper right-hand corner. Next, they can make a tax-deductible donation that truly makes a difference in an Illinois child’s life.

“Our first-ever holiday campaign will help us raise some of the funds necessary to provide students with new supplies to begin the new year motivated and prepared,” he said.

A little donation can make a big difference:
$15: Provides school supply kit to 1 Illinois student for the new year
$30: Provides school supply kits to 2 Illinois students for the new year
$75: Provides school supply kits to 5 Illinois students for the new year
$120: Provides school supply kits to 8 Illinois students for the new year
$300: Provides school supply kits to 20 Illinois students for the new year

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