CHINATOWN — What do you do with nearly five tons of calculators languishing in a shuttered warehouse?
The tech-minded faculty at Chinatown’s St. Therese Chinese Catholic School has an answer — have ‘em shipped to the school and then give ‘em all away.
It all began with recent plans to close a Romeoville warehouse for Sharp, the worldwide electronics manufacturer.
St. Therese Principal Phyllis Cavallone, who’s won national accolades for incorporating technology into her grade school classrooms, had connections with the electronics company, and one of Sharp's employees dialed her up.
“It was kind of like ‘Help pick them up and they’re yours,’" Cavallone said.
The principal then called Tom Zbierski of the Big Shoulders Fund, the downtown-based resource agency for Chicago Catholic schools, which helped arrange for a truck and a shipment to a warehouse.
“Within a week and half, boom, we moved them from one warehouse to the other,” Cavallone said.
Volunteers have since helped break down the shipment, pallet by pallet, and bring the devices to the basement of the school, 247 W. 23rd St.
St. Therese will keep 200 of the calculators, which range from simple to scientific. The other 9,800 devices are getting scooped up — anywhere from 200 to 500 at a time — by representatives from schools across the city.
“I was initially just thinking 100 [per school],” Cavallone said. “But there really are so many."