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Article posted: 2/21/2014 4:23 PM

Friends of the Poor Benefit to Help Supply Children in Need with Backpacks and School Supplies

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By Paul Martinez

Proceeds from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Chicago's 6th annual Friends of the Poor Benefit slated for Sunday, April 6 at the Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois will be used to underwrite "Tools for Success", a new Society of St. Vincent de Paul Chicago Archdiocesan Council program--helping SVdP church conferences and/or district councils in Cook and Lake counties to purchase and organize distributions of new backpacks and school supplies to needy families and their children.

"We feel that educational support could be a first step to empowering families on a pathway out of poverty," said Roine Michaels, Development and Fundraising Coordinator for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Chicago. "Systemic change sometimes begins with having basic items like pens, pencils, paper, notebooks and even a new box of crayons. These can make a difference in motivating a child to succeed in their studies and be successful in school. Providing school supplies can be one of the first steps on the road to higher education, a good job and a better opportunity, thus affecting the cycle of poverty," said Michaels.

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The Friends of the Poor Benefit is the Society's major fundraiser with this year's Vegas theme, "You can BET on SVdP!" to feature singer and impressionist, Vito Zatto; games of chance including flat screen TV giveaways and raffle prizes to include casino trips and gas cards. Tickets are $75 per person or a table of ten can be purchased for $725. Ticket purchase includes Drury Lane's famous champagne brunch with over ten stations of gourmet food to choose from.

"Our previous benefits to date have raised more than $150,000. A successful benefit this year will enable us to increase that number to more than $200,000--allowing us to help even more people in need," Michaels said.

"Last year, we provided over 8 million dollars in financial, material and education support helping more than 680,000 people stay in their homes--keeping the electric, gas and water turned on. Remarkably we have no government, corporate or Catholic Church funding but rely predominately on private donations, small contributions into church poor boxes and funds from our annual benefit," Michaels added.

To buy tickets or donate to the Friends of the Poor Benefit, please visit www.betonsvdp.org or call (312) 948-6507.

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