Free backpacks, immunizations: Here’s the list of Chicago ‘back-to-school bashes’ full of free stuff

It’s become an annual back-to-school tradition: A series of bashes for families and educators hosted by Chicago Public Schools and offering free backpacks full of school supplies, food, even immunizations provided at no cost by area hospitals and pharmacies.

Popular with families, the events kick off July 30 in Albany Park on the city’s Northwest Side. Chicago Public Schools will host 13 bashes around the city. The full lineup is below. 

Both Chicago’s school chief, Janice Jackson, and the city’s new mayor, Lori Lightfoot, have spoken publicly about building stronger ties between communities and schools. Chicago has opened additional “parent universities” that offer classes on such topics as coding and language skills, and in spring 2018 the district hosted five CEO community town halls for the first time in a decade. The back-to-school bashes, which date back to 2016, are organized by the same department that has overseen the other outreach efforts.