CHICAGO — As the leadoff hitter for the Chicago Cubs, Dexter Fowler knows the importance of strong starts, and he helped provide that Wednesday for more than 40 Chicago families looking to hit the ground running as the new school year begins. Fowler and his Fowler’s Howlers organization partnered with the nonprofit group Pay Away the Layaway to surprise 43 families by paying off more than $5,000 in layaway balances for back-to-school supplies. Several families found out about the layaway liberation during a Wednesday afternoon event at a Kmart, 3443 W. Addison St., a little more than 3 miles from Fowler’s “workplace” at Wrigley Field.