Tommy and Helendora Samuels at their frame shop in Wicker Park on Aug. 7, 2023 Credit: Quinn Myers/Block Club Chicago

WICKER PARK — The owners of a Wicker Park frame shop are collecting school supplies to donate to kids across Chicago.

Helendora and Sylvester “Tommy” Samuels run Helendora Samuels Picture Framing, 1736 W. North Ave. The couple frequently hold donation drives around the holidays and throughout the year with their church and organization Stepping Out In Faith/I Am Austin.

Ahead of school starting up later this month, the Samuels are now seeking donated book bags and other school supplies. They’re asking donors to fill the bags with lined paper and notebooks, two-pocket folders, pencils and pens plus crayons and colored pencils.

Helendora Samuels said she’s hoping to collect 200 book bags between now and the end of the month. Many of them will be given out to kids on the West Side, and others will be delivered all over the city, she said.

Learn & play with Chicagoland’s best at an upcoming CRS Fall Camp, ages 7-13.

Supplies can be dropped off between 1-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday at the frame shop. The Samuels will take donations through the end of August, they said.

This latest collection comes about five months after dozens of bags of toys and several donated bikes were stolen out of a storefront next to the couple’s Oak Park church, where they store leftover donations.

The Samuels are still rebuilding their inventory of toys, bicycles and other items ahead of the holiday season and said they would also accept holiday donations on top of school supplies.

For more details or questions, Helendora Samuels can be reached at 312-731-5569.

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