CHICAGO — On Chicago's West Side, a warm mission arrived by semi truck Sunday as more than a dozen student athletes from around the Chicago area unloaded dozens of donated sweatshirts at a homeless shelter.
As part of the "Buddy's Helper's" program, 64 high schools collected more than 5,600 sweatshirts and jackets in all. That's much more than the original goal of 3,100, a symbolic number chosen by the students involved in the effort.
They chose the number to "bring awareness to the 3,100 kids who attempted suicide" each day in the United States, said Angel Arismendiz, George Washington High School.
"We're bringing awareness to teen suicide in America because it doesn't get talked about a lot," said Joey Stern, Parker High School.
These sweatshirts give a tangible reminder of that number, and a sense of purpose, helping those struggling through the upcoming cold months in Chicago.
"It's just a great opportunity for us to give something back as players from the Chicagoland area," said Ricardo Alvarez, Solorio Academy.
"It's a privilege, the PepsiCo Showdown collected all these sweaters so we could give back where we grew up. Other people don`t have the same opportunities that we do, so to give back is always a great feeling."