It’s wintertime: 1,000 sweaters donated by Chicago-area student athletes to help keep the homeless warm

Student athletes from the Chicago region joined together on Sunday to help keep some of the city’s homeless people warm this winter.

Soccer players from high schools throughout Chicago and the suburbs donated 1,000 sweatshirts to drop boxes at Lincoln Park Community Services — an organization that assists the impoverished throughout Chicago in finding stable housing and making sustainable life choices — as part of a charity event organized by Buddy’s Helpers — a non-profit whose mission is to educate student athletes about the importance of making a difference on and off the field.

“It’s winter, and a lot of homeless teens may be struggling with the winter,” Valeria Rodriguez, a sophomore at Thornton Township High School, explained. “It can keep them warm with a sweatshirt.”

According to the Illinois State Board of Education, almost 40,000 public school kids in the state are homeless.

“Coming from a low-income community, I know that this is something that is very, very prominent,” said Jonathan Rodriguez, a Northwestern University student. “I have a lot of respect for these people because one of the reasons people don’t know about this is that these people are very, very strong.” They are people who do not want to be a burden to their families and do not want it to be known.”

According to Joe Trost, creator of Buddy’s Helpers, homelessness can take various forms, not only the traditional ones.

“Homeless” does not imply standing on a street corner or on lower Wacker Drive, according to Trost. “It could be someone couch surfing or stuck in their car.” There’s a lot of added stress in families at this time of year, and not everyone’s family is as wonderful as it appears.”

More information about Lincoln Community Services may be found on their website if you or someone you know is interested in becoming involved or volunteering.

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