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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Cradles to Crayons

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Family Services, Human Service Organizations, Human Services, Thrift Shops

Mission: Cradles to Crayons provides children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive - at home, at school and at play. We supply these items free of charge by engaging and connecting communities that have with communities that need.

Results: Over the years, Cradles to Crayons has distributed more than 300,000 packages of essential items to disadvantaged Massachusetts children, including 127,000 backpacks filled with brand new school supplies.

Target demographics: provide children from birth through age 12 living in low-income or homeless situations with the essential items they need to thrive.

Direct beneficiaries per year: distribute 29,000 KidPacks and 30,000 backpacks to local kids in-need

Geographic areas served: Massachusetts and Pennsylvania

Programs: Cradles to Crayons’ signature program, Everyday Essentials, the subject of this request, provides children living in low-income or homeless situations with essential items such as clothing for a week, books, shoes, developmental toys and more. Everyday Essentials operates year-round with targeted seasonal initiatives to best meet the needs of local children. Our Gear Up for Winter campaign supplies kids with the cold weather gear that they need to stay warm from October through February. Our school readiness platform, Ready for School operates from July through September to provide children with materials they need to feel ready to learn from head to toe. During March and April, our Spring Greening program ties in a fun initiative for families to clean out their closets and donate their gently-used items to Cradles to Crayons. Gear Up for Baby focuses on gathering infant and child safety equipment throughout the months of May and June.

Community Stories

313 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a fantastic organization that helps local children in need of basic supplies. They are great at using both new and used donated items to make tailored packs of clothing, books, school supplies, toys for each needy child. They really need more donations of new and gently used clothing, especially for boys! The staff who organize the volunteers are really great and they have a great system of making the volunteers see the whole extent of what they do for the local community and actually make you feel like you really make a difference! It is a fabulous place to volunteer and time well spent.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a teacher who works with middle school students, I am continually impressed by the ways in which Cradles to Crayons makes volunteering fun and meaningful. Never for a moment do my 7th grade students forget that they are working to get things ready for the immediate use of needy families. They enjoy meeting the C2C staff, and they enjoy knowing that their volunteer work will have an impact right away.

I also write as a parent of a Cradles to Crayons summer intern and member of the young leadership council. During the summer, my high school aged son trained with Joe Spause in a true service learning program, and he came home each day, inspired to think about developing a better infrastructure for the delivery of clothes, supplies and food to needy families. C2C sparked a kind of idealism that carries into our family life and into his first thoughts about a future career.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with my three school-aged children. It is a great opportunity for kids to see the full cycle of giving -- we sorted clothes that came in as donations and then packed orders for specific children. My 3rd grade daughter was especially motivated to choose the coat, hat and gloves that she thought another 3rd grade girl would really like. It was a terrific afternoon for all of us!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

C2C is one of the most innovative direct-impact organizations I have ever seen. We have held book-drives at my child's birthday party for them, numerous collections at my synagogue, and I have volunteered in their warehouse on a few occasions. The piece that I find most compelling about C2C is their attention to the detail of "what the child likes, is into, desires" as opposed to just giving anything. Kid likes green shirts, they're going to get green shirts. Etc.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had never been to Cradles to Crayons before, so my family and I decided to volunteer through our synagogue for Martin Luther Kind Day. We were so surprised by the size of the operation. There were so many voluteers and so much to do. Each area was divided into different sections of activity before they even give anything away. It's such a process. It ran quite smoothly and at the end of the day we were thrilled to have been there and be apart of such an amazing opportunity. We will make this a family tradition every MLK day!

Jen Howie

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been both a donor and a volunteer. When I volunteered before Christmas I was surprised at the way the C2C organization worked. Shocked that as we fill packs for kids in need that there weren't enough jackets in every size to go around, not enough toys, books, and puzzles to satisfy every age group. C2C does wonderful work and it was amazing the amount of donations that were leaving the building and going to needy families. I commend them for the work they perform.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

We take a group of our students to Cradles to Crayons to volunteer every other month. The staff is warm, welcoming and very helpful each visit! This is greatly appreciated by high school teenage girls :)
Also, our students have the opportunity to work in the different areas of the warehouse, giving them a whole picture of the organization's work.
What a great place to volunteer!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Last time I volunteered at C2C I asked my mom to join me. I knew it would be hard work and was nervous that the time in the factory would affect her asthma, I told her to take it easy and reiterated that any work she could handle would be appreciated, I didn't want her to overexert herself. Not only did she work hard the entire time we volunteered, she also spent the drivehome (approx 1 hr) saying what a fantastic time she had. While volunteering, we were assigned to pack clothes for girls size 11/12, we were both saddened by the difficulty of this task due to the sheer lack of donations. After that experiance my mom decided that she would focus her future donations on the needs of older children. Last week I got a text from my aunt asking if she could give me a bag of clothes to donate to C2C. One night of volunteering is touching so many lives. My mom and I both recognize the good that C2C does for the community, it's a wonderful charity and any time spent there is rewarding beyond expectations. We look forward to our next volunteer opportunity.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I think C2C is a wonderful organization. I have volunteered with my work and on my own and both times have been a great experience. This last time I brought two friends with me and they were taken back at the good coming from this org. It has been one of the best things I have done and look forward to spreading the word and bring more friends and family to hlpe such a great cause. This give you a sense of giving back which is wonderful. I hav also brought donations as I know they are going to help many less fortunate. Keep up the wonderful work, you are all great!

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

Our organization have in the past used the services of Cradles to Crayons to help in our initiatives to help the clients we serve. They are very generous, and caring organization and I appreciate being able to collaborate with them.

Denise F.
Women's Center of Montgomery County

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great opportunity to help the most vulnerable members of our community. Cradles to Crayons makes it easy to get involved and has a huge impact on the quality of life of the people they touch. One of my favorite things about working with Cradles to Crayons is that they encourage family participation in the volunteer events. I am always grateful to have a day to spend with my sons doing something that makes a difference.

Donor

Rating: 5

Our school participated in a winter clothing drive with C2C in Philadelphia. The staff at C2C was great and it was an easy process. Some of our student also volunteered at the donation center.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

My daughter's third grade girl scout troup had the opportunity to volunteer at Cradles to Crayons. They cleaned shoes and sorted clothes. Everyone at Cradles was so kind and everything was so well organized. The girls had a great time and learned a lot while helping others. We also organized a clothing drive prior so we were able to bring some bags of clothes with us when we volunteered.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

One of the amazing things about Cradles to Crayons (CTC) is their outreach and volunteer involvement. Of course, the main things is the number of needy served.

So when you combine their management team, donors, and volunteer network with their mission of helping those children from cradles to crayons you get a fantastic organization doing a fantastic thing!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at Cradles to Crayons for a friend's 40th birthday! What a fabulous opportunity to serve others in honor of a friend's birthday. I then brought my husband and 2 children to volunteer on a day off from school. My 6-year was so happy to be putting together packages for children in our area that are in need of some help. This organization is well run... the people who work there were great, too! We will certainly go back and help there again!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We had an outstanding experience working w/ Cradles. We were not able to coordinate our family's schedule with the onsite events, so we participated in making art kits for kids. We were able to organize it on our own schedule and the Cradles team made it extremely easy. Our whole family enjoyed the experience and we plan to work with them again.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with many nonprofit organizations in the past, and I have never been as impressed as I am with Cradles to Crayons. They are very well-run, and the amount of donations they distribute is staggering.

The items they can't use are donated to the Salvation Army, who distributes them around the world. They are doing a great service not only to our surrounding communities, but for people in other cities and countries around the world.

This is a wonderful organization!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is by far the best charity that I have ever volunteered for! What I love about it is that you get to see the entire C2C process when you are there. It starts with donations coming in and being sorted, then clothing packs are put together, then entire orders are pulled together consisting of clothing, toys, books, coats, shoes, art supplies - what a needy child can use to keep him or her comfortable for one week! Our work team has done this together twice and had a fantastic team-building experience. My husband and I have also volunteered here and really enjoyed it. If you want a fulfilling volunteer experience - this is it. You will find it an eye-opener to learn how many needy children there are just in the Philadelphia area that C2C is helping!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We recently took part in a stationery drive for Cradles to Crayons. The organization sent detailed information on what was needed and how to package the materials. They provided information on what materials were needed and for what age children.
They made the project both easy and fun for my family to complete!
The only difficulty we had was delivering the materials since they are tucked away in the hills of Conshohocken.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

My family truly appreciates this organization! Every year we donate what we can to C2C knowing that we ourselves may need to find support from its many services during the year. I also enjoy receiving C2Cs countless e-newsletters that keep me informed on what the organization is doing. Without this information, I would feel a little less connected to my community's needs and a great resource available to it.

Review from Guidestar

Miriam L.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have had great experiences working with Cradles to Crayons. A lot of my clients need very basic things: clothes, toys, books, arts and crafts supplies, and games. Having the same supplies, clothes, and toys as their friends helps my clients feel just like all their friends. Cradles to Crayons steps up every time I need them and provides my clients with the things they need so they can go back to just being kids.

Review from Guidestar

Melissa O.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering with Cradles to Crayons has been such a rewarding experience. I've been able to see first hand how the efforts of this wonderful organization have helped local kids in our community.

Whether it has been volunteering in the Warehouse, packing and sorting clothes/supplies/toys, or organizing a clothing drive, or participating in a C2C fund raiser, I have always had the best experience.

C2C is an amazing organization that is truly helping thousands of children.
The staff and volunteers at C2C are simply fantastic! They welcome everyone as though you are family, and really make your volunteer experience incredible!

Volunteering through C2C gives you the opportunity to have a hands on experience, in a richly positive atmosphere!

You are given the chance to give back to the community, help local children receive the basic supplies they need to grow, and you are able to do all of this while meeting new people, and making new friends!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5



Cradles2Crayons does a wonderful job with supplying our consumers with the most appropriate age based toys and clothing. The items are always within a good quality and quantity. I appreciate the fast turnover in receiving the completed packages.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Cradles to Crayons is a fantastic organization with a clear purpose. My team spent a day there for a corporate-sponsored volunteer day, and so many of us can't wait to go back. The staff were friendly and enthusiastic, and the mission of the organization is fantastic. What a great opportunity to serve our community.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We really enjoy volunteering at Cradles to Crayons. I have 5 kids and three are old enough to volunteer (they are 12, 9 and 6). The staff always makes them feel welcome and they have a lot of jobs that are age appropriate for them.

It is a great place for a family to volunteer and a great place for the community.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A group of us from work took the day to volunteer at Cradles To Crayons, and it was a great experience. The staff was organized, and the organization really does a lot to help the community.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at C2C more than a few times. I was always impressed by how helpful the staff is and how well they treated returning volunteers. A number of times I was asked to help a large group navigate the bundles of clothes and the process of bundling and finding matching items. It made me feel very much part of the total experience.
I have also seen the staff celebrate frequent volunteers with a special celebration - cake and all!
On numerous occasions, I observed parents and their children working throught the processes together. It was very heartwarming to see the value of volunteerism being shared.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

C2C has been such an amazing resource for the families we serve! From the most basic necessities like warm clothes in the winter and diapers for infants to the toys and books that light up a child's face when they see their bag, each "order" is a blessing and so truly appredciated. The staff at this organization is so wonderful and easy to work with. C2C has far exceeded any expectation we would have had and continue to be our top resource for kids we work with.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at Cradles to crayons in december and I found the experience amazing. It was so well organised and the people who ran the place were friendly, helpful and extremely hard working. The place had a warmth and energy to it that makes me want to go back and volunteer.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

At my internship to equip and empower teen parents with the skills and resources they need, this organization is a significant help. Clients are able to clothe their children, provide birthday gifts, books and even items such as walkers.
It was a pleasure to be part of this program when we volunteered an afternoon to sort winter coats, hats, scarves and mittens. The staff really care about supplying children and families with the things they need, as well as their dignity.
I would love to see this program's provisional capabilities grow to meet their passion and abilities.

Review from Guidestar

David W.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I've volunteered at C2C about 8 times, once at their 'original location' in Horsham and since in Conshohocken. I enjoy assembling orders for kids, knowing that what I choose will be in the hands of local needy child in just days.

The C2C leaders are organized, pleasant to work with and clearly appreciate the volunteer help.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I c an't wait to go back. You get to do all phases of the process, cleaning donations, picking out outfits and toys for orders and getting a true appreciation for what people need. Now I haunt the clearance racks looking for kids clothes bargains. Great committed people running a truly wonderful operation

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My employer sponsored several opportunities to serve at Cradle to Crayons, and each was fantastic. It's very rewarding because you get to have hands-on experience starting with intake/sorting of incoming donated items all the way to packing a bag of specific needed things for a particular child. You can honestly see the good that they do and turnover of items is very fast. I highly recommend this volunteer opportunity for people of all ages.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My 9 yr old daughter and I volunteered at C to C. I was so touched to see such compassionate caring individuals. I was saddened to see such needs but impressed with who well this organization runs and how many children it helps.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

I was happy to find C2C. My daughter is now 7, and being the first grandchild on both sides we had accumulated a ton of clothes and toys over the years. I was happy to find a place that was local and supported our community. In addition, the staff at C2C was very helpful and friendly.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had a great time volunteering with some of my fellow Shippensburg Alumni. We tried every station and it was an amazing experience. I definitely want to go back and help out!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I volunteered at the old location. We had a blast and felt really good, like we were making a difference. We sorting clothes and cleaned toys. I would love to do it again. This is a great place!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering at Cradle to Crayons was a rewarding experience and a lot of fun too. I plan to volunteer again and bring my family along.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

One of my daughter's birthdays is in September, and she loves Cradles to Crayons so much that we always collect school supplies in lieu of presents to donate to them! Why does she love them? Well, believe it or not, it's because when we volunteer there, she gets to actually DO stuff: she cleans the toys, sorts the books, puts clothes in bags....Things that make her feel like she's doing something good! Given the volume of donations that come in, I'm always most impressed by how organized and clean the place is, and how cheerful the staff is! It's one of our family's favorite charities!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at Cradles to Crayons at their Horsham office. I work for Bank of America and our office building was on the same site. Many of my co-workers routinely volunteer with this great organization. They do an awesome job helping kids in need in the Philadelphia area. I donate a portion of my United Way payroll deduction to Cradles to Crayons. The children benefit and that matters.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My employer did a volunteer event at C2C this past year and we had such a great time we've scheduled additional events in 2011 and plan to bring even more people !

The C2C staff at the Conshy location were awesome! Can't wait to see you guys soon and help out with a great cause that directly impacts our surrounding community.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

When deciding that we were done having children, I was heartbroken to part with all our baby stuff. What made it easier was knowing that it would go to another Mom who would use it and appreciate it like I did. Cradles to Crayons sincerely seemed to appreciate my donation, and I know that someone in need will value it too. Thanks for being there and helping those in need:-)

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Kate
This was the first year I volunteered with C2C - I did this with my company. We volunteer a different orgainzation every year but for me I will keep coming back to C2C. What an amazing orgainzation. I thought that the volunteering part was so well orgainized, we spent time at each different area - sorting clothes, packaging weeks worth of clothes, filling orders. It gave everyone a great sense of accomplishment and an even better sense of how their are so many people in need . We didn't even come close to filling all the orders. Since then I have been back 2 times to donate things.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with the Cradles to Crayon for some time both as a Board member and a volunteer. They are a well run organization and have done an outstanding job managing their phenomenal growth and serving their client needs. Their model of recycling and giving back is sustainable and easy to support. It's rare to come across an organization that will allow all members of the family to get involved from a volunteer perspective. Cradles to Crayons allows for meaningful, hands-on volunteering. It's a great organization and one with which I'm proud to be involved.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I spent a Saturday morning volunteering at C to C. We had a blast! We had fun sorting, washing and organizing toys and clothing. What a great place!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization makes the best use of its resources in every way, including its volunteers. From the way the physical space is organized, to the methodology used to create custom packages for each child, and even the "flow" of volunteers are all mapped-out for maximum efficiency. I was extremely impressed by this group and plan to come back often to work because the results go directly to help the children.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

My employer sponsored a community volunteer day and our office chose Cradles to Crayons. I was already extremely impressed with the goals of this organization, but was blown away by their level of organization and their focus on the children we were ultimately helping. The group of us were seamlessly trained and shown the multiples levels involved in reaching the ultimate goal, providing a child with the items in their wish list. A wish list of what most of us consider basic items... but for that child... a coat to kim her warm, shoes, pants, tops and yes, even a toy and books. I was honored to have been allowed to assist in this process and hope to continue to help.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

$220 feeds hundreds of Americans for one week and it is tax deductible...I know this charity and highly recommend it...Adam and team not only feeds the homeless but gives them a new start in life by providing them with minimum papers so that they can get a job...This guy is an angel!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My family started volunteering at Cradles to Crayons when their location was in Horsham. Now it's farther away in Conshohocken, but we make the time to get there as often as we can. We love the people there and the organization itself. We feel great about the work we do there and we also feel that our comments and suggestions for improvements are always taken seriously and sometimes implemented. It's wonderful for people of all ages!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Our organization volunteers here regularly; my family has also begun to volunteer. A great organization, well run, and a worthy cause--the well being of our community's children

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I volunteered at C2C with my co-workers. I really enjoyed my experience at Cradles to Crayons. I appreciated that it was hands-on, because I felt like I was truly making a difference. Everything is well-organized and the staff is very helpful. Getting to "shop" for a child whose name and age you know made it very personal.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering at Cradles 2 Crayons for a few years now. It is a wonderful organization with a dedicated and welcoming staff. Every time I go in, I feel like a vital part of the organization. The staff work right along side the volunteers encouraging suggestions and gently guiding us along the way. It's a great place to volunteer with my children who enjoy the variety of activites from sorting clothes to cleaning toys to making wrapping paper. It never feels like volunteering; I think I get more out of it.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I first volunteered through Advanta - a work group volunteered on a Saturday at the C2C Horsham, PA facility. I went back on my own with my 15-year-old neighbor a few times. We had such fun putting outfits together for clothing bags for young girls. The staff was really nice and the facility was well-organized. The facility has since moved to Conshohocken.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at C2C with a school a couple times and loved my experience! The work we did really felt like it had a purpose and we walked away knowing that we helped to make a difference that day.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at C2C on multiple occassions. The staff and events are well managed and organized. I highly recommend visiting C2C and getting involved.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

My kids (two teenagers) and I have volunteered at Cradles to Crayons many times. The organization is just great. We've done everything from cleaning shoes, organizing toys, sorting clothing, and the back pack a thon. The people who work there are very warm and inviting and you always feel good knowing that you've helped make a difference.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at Cradles to Crayons in 2010.
It was a great experience. I was incredibly surprised by the amount of donations received. The volunteer experience went seamlessly and was fun. They have very dedicated individuals that make this organziation outstanding in more ways than one.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

as a volunteer, i am happy to give cradles to crayons five stars. i know how hard they work to meet the needs of kids in the area and they deserve a win. c2c changes so many lives daily and i'm thrilled to be a part of that.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love to volunteer with Cradles to Crayons because my whole family can participate! My 6 year old son loves volunteering--he can package items, wrap birthday gifts and really understand what it means to share his time to help another person. We have a wonderful time volunteering, and always want to support Cradles whenever we can!

Review from Guidestar

Joseph G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Cradles to Crayons has been a wonderful organization for children. We have personally been involved with their events, and it's fun, exciting and great for families. It makes you feel good to see how many kids you can help by joining the efforts of Cradles to Crayons. It's an organization which is easy to join and do good work for. You see your efforts come to fruition quickly. It's a terrific charity!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had so much fun volunterring at Cradles to Crayons. The staff was super nice, helpful, and just made everything easy. GOOD LUCK!!

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

a wonder full organization, they are in need of more resources and a better website. They provide a great need for the community

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with C2C twice and both times was impressed with their ability to make good use of very large groups. I felt like I was contributing in a meaningful way. I also very much believe in the organization's mission and what they're doing to fulfull that mission.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I recently had the opportunity to volunteer at Cradles 2 Crayons and I was very happy with my experience. I was looking to give my time to a worthy non-profit that seemed to have a far reaching influence and I think that's exactly what C2C is.
I was one of about 50 or more volunteers that day who gave their time and many of those volunteers were under the age of 18. I was impressed by their concern and hard work.
The people who run the volunteer program are kind, patient and thankful for the help.
I tried to keep in mind the child who would eventually get whatever item I was packing or checking. Many lovely items are donated and I believe the children who receive these packages must be at least somewhat happier for receiving them.

Review from Guidestar