Lincoln Park Zoo, Amazon Fresh Collaborate with Chicago HOPES for Kids for a Special Evening at the Zoo for Students Experiencing Homelessness
Chicago HOPES for Kids partnered for the 3rd year with Lincoln Park Zoo to provide families from eight homeless and domestic violence shelters across the city of Chicago with a private evening at the zoo. The annual HOPES at the Zoo event is made possible thanks to a generous donation from long-time zoo supporter Sharon Zackfia. This year, the event was combined with HOPES’ annual School Supply Drive to provide 200 new backpacks with supplies, donated and packed by Amazon Fresh.
Families enjoyed an “Animal Superheroes” themed evening with crafts, games, special animal enrichment, and community-based resources provided across the zoo grounds. Partners providing resources such as menstrual supplies, career coaching, and nutrition information included the Chicago Period Project, Plant Chicago, ICAN, Chicago Public Library, Brave Space Alliance, JARC, and Amazon Fresh. Families also had the chance to learn about the zoo’s educational programming for students and register for the fall semester of after-school programming provided directly at the shelters by Chicago HOPES for Kids. While rain prevented immediate distribution of backpacks, the Amazon team adapted to provide delivery service to all 8 of our attending partner shelters.
"Chicago HOPES for Kids is excited to partner with Lincoln Park Zoo and Amazon to provide this unique experience for families experiencing homelessness in Chicago,” said Executive Director Rita Kahn. “While a rainstorm made for a different evening than planned, exploring the zoo together was still a wonderful way to start the school year!”
Lincoln Park Zoo's Director of Community Innovation and Collaboration, Stephanie Bohr, shared, "At a time when connection to both nature and resources has never been more important, we are thrilled to welcome all of the families and partners to the zoo for a fun-filled evening."
“As students head back to school, this event provided local kids with access to educational programming and school supplies,” said Sarah Glavin, Amazon’s Senior Manager of External Affairs in Chicago. “Regardless of the weather, we were pleased to partner with Chicago HOPES for Kids and Lincoln Park Zoo as they help these families kick off a successful school year.”