Amid the first chaotic weeks of remote learning last spring, as headlines detailed growing unemployment and businesses across Chicago shut down, teacher Rebecca Coven’s students were missing class. The reason was that students were going to work to help fill gaps in their families’ income because of the pandemic. Coven saw that her students’ education was at stake and concluded that “we can’t teach our students unless they have their basic needs met.” From there, in coordination with other teachers, Coven launched a Google questionnaire to ask families what they need and a GoFundMe site to solicit donations. Donations support students’ families needs for food, rent, medical care and other critical items. Across Chicago, other teachers have done the same thing, with many donating portions of their own paychecks to the cause. “If we don’t help, who will?” said special education teacher, Fatima Salgado.

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