Healthy schools make for healthy neighborhoods. That’s why CHAI, or Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc., is committed to strengthening the 10 schools in Baltimore City and County served by the Park Heights-based nonprofit housing and community development organization.

In the past, CHAI, an agency of The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore, has provided free school supplies to students and teachers at the schools with funding from an outside source. Among the schools that benefit from this program are Bedford Elementary, Cross Country Elementary/Middle, Fallstaff Elementary/Middle, Milbrook Elementary and Woodholme Elementary.

But this year, that funding was not available. Still, Larry Schugam, CHAI’s senior director of community development, and his colleagues were undeterred.

“We created an Amazon Wish List so people can go online and choose items like pencils and glue sticks to donate,” said Schugam. “The items are shipped directly to CHAI and then we distribute them to the schools.”

In addition to distributing school supplies every fall, Schugam said CHAI connects schools with community partners that provide resources for students’ social, emotional and academic development. CHAI also assists parent-teacher organizations and convenes principals’ meetings to discuss best educational practices and parent engagement.

So far, Schugam said, the school supply campaign has raised more than $650 worth of school supplies.  “Our goal is to raise enough money so that every kid at every one of our schools gets everything they need,” he said.

Schugam said he is hopeful that by Sept. 8, the first day of public school in the city and county, CHAI will reach its goal.

“Since schools will begin online this year, some people assume kids don’t need supplies,” he said. “They think the kids have whatever they need at home. But in fact, since many of the supplies they use are typically available in the classroom, they may need even more than usual.”

Interested in donating school supplies? Follow these simple steps:

  • Visit https://bit.ly/chaisupply
  • Click the Shop Charity Lists button
  • Login to your Amazon smile account or create an account (It’s free)
  • Purchase items from the list and select CHAI as the shipping address.

For information, visit https://chaibaltimore.org/news/help-chai-support-local-students-and-teachers/.