• Cradles to Crayons Cradles to Crayons


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Mission Statement

Our Mission: To provide, free of charge, low-income and homeless children from birth to pre-teen the basic essentials they need to be safe, warm, ready to learn, and valued. We also set a foundation for lasting change through the meaningful, tangible volunteer opportunities we provide to thousands of youth and adults each year.

Our Model: We're the glue between communities that have and communities that need. We make it simple for children, families, corporations to give their time, treasures and talent to benefit other children in their community. By partnering with social service agencies for distribution, we have a direct channel to serve tens of thousands of children in need each year.

The Kids We Help

Living in poverty means no books, shoes that don't fit properly, a worn-out winter coat. When you donate to Cradles to Crayons, you can be absolutely sure that your donation goes to a deserving local child, for whom the donation was specifically requested. Partnering with social service agencies enables us to reach thousands of individual children each month. Our partners include hospitals, health centers, family-service agencies, shelters and schools, among others.

There is a great need for our services. Almost 500,000 Massachusetts kids (one out of three) live in poor or low-income households.* At some point this year, almost one in five of these children (98,000) will experience homlessness. Homeless families remain in a shelter, on average, for 6 months before finding permanent housing.** According to the US Census Bureau, Philadelphia has the highest poverty rate among the nation's ten largest cities. Nearly one in four Philadelphians, including 130,000 children, live in poverty.*** We opened our second Giving Factory there, this summer.

C2C provides year-round support for children in these situations.

The Kids Who Help Us

At the same time, there are families looking for new homes for never-used or gently-used clothing, books, toys and other "stuff" their own kids have outgrown or no longer use. C2C serves as a bridge connecting those who have more with those who have less, effectivly tearing down the invisible walls dividing our communities.

Thousands of kids, every year, give us their treasures, hold product drives and work a "shift" at our warehouse, The Giving Factory. In the doing, C2C kids experience enduring understanding and learn real lessons in leadership, social justice, service and the power of giving. We call it "tangible philanthropy".

*Source: National Center for Children and Poverty
** Source: Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless
*** Source: Philadelphia Inquirer (9/5/06)


Our work relies on adults and kids, coming together in their neighborhoods and in our warehouse- the Giving Factory. In your neigborhood, you can host a product drive or other event or work at community outreach.

In the Giving Factory, we're looking for volunteers of all ages to work a shift inspecting books, matching outfits, sorting and testing toys, stuffing backpacks, or shopping to fill orders for local boys and girls. We also have a "service path" for high school students and adults who want to volunteer regularly or help in our business office.

Important notes on youth and families volunteering at Cradles to Crayons
We ask for adult leaders to supervise all youth and family volunteers for a safe and positive experience!
* 1 adult leader for every 3 elementary school students (grades 1-5)
* 1 adult leader for every 3 middle school students (grades 6-8)
* 1 adult leader for every 6 high school students (grades 9-12)



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