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Lunch Buddies

Lunch Buddies is a fun and engaging volunteer-based program serving high-need students at Jane Addams Elementary School in Palatine. The lunchtime program bolsters numeracy skills, promotes a love of reading, and fosters social-emotional learning. Students develop trusting relationships with our team and volunteers who guide them through enrichment activities to build confidence and a love of learning.

HandsOn Suburban Chicago is recruiting dedicated volunteers for the 2023-24 school year! We are currently accepting applications for Lunch Buddies to begin in October 2023. Please note that the application process requires a reference check and criminal background check. Training is provided and consists of a self-guided online course with a graded final assessment.

Who: HandsOn Suburban Chicago needs caring and reliable community members like you to provide academic support to high-needs elementary school students!

What: Lunch Buddies strengthens the foundational academic skills of students in need through volunteer-based tutoring. Under the direction of program staff, volunteers provide homework help, practice math skills, and/or develop literacy skills by reading with groups of 1-3 students.

Where and When: Lunch Buddies takes place at Jane Addams Elementary School in Palatine, IL and will run from October through the second week of May. Volunteer tutors are needed on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays during the students' lunch hour, between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM (dates and times are subject to change). Choose and commit to one day per week.​​​​​​​

Why: Tutoring is a fun and rewarding experience. In addition to the satisfaction that comes with positively impacting those in need, volunteering in schools is an ideal way to meet new people, enhance your resume, and learn new skills. Tutoring at Lunch Buddies is also a great way for college and graduate students to earn field hours.


Every dollar raised delivers measurable results that support our aims of strengthening foundational math and reading skills and cultivating positive attitudes toward learning.

  • 100% of the Lunch Buddies students in 6th grade achieved satisfactory grades and school attendance. (Spring 2019)
  • Every 4th and 5th grade teacher reported seeing improvements in student engagement and assignment completion rates among their Lunch Buddies students. (Spring 2019)
  • 94% of 1st and 2nd graders in the program indicated they enjoyed free reading time, a 25 percentage-point increase from the beginning of the term. (Spring 2019)

"Not only did you build up their reading skills, but you also helped them grow into such wonderful little people and they always talked about how much they loved eating and chatting with you guys!" - Plainfield Elementary School Teacher

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