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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

I had a great time there. Even though it was my first time at this warehouse I had no trouble following the system. I really liked shopping for the kids. I liked when my friends and I got to pick out the birthday present for the kids. I could help a lot even though I am only 8.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with Cradles to Crayons in the Conshohocken warehouse location. I, along with members of my church have gone together; the most wonderful part is we've been able to include our children. Children so often aren't allowed, I suppose for insurance reasons, so this is a terrific opportunity for them, especially as they know they're helping other kids.

We arrive and are oriented to the warehouse, and what our duties will be for that particular day. We'eve done the packaging of orders for the clients. We have all enjoyed this activity, and the kids also have enjoyed making birthday cards and wrapping a new gift if it's the child's birthday.

It's also a great place to make donations, which we've always done.

I'd highly recommend it to ANYONE, but particularly to families with children, looking for a worthy organization to help.

In addition I think, albeit I am not disabled myself, that it is a good opportunity for those with physical disabilities, as the warehouse is on a level surface and accessible.

Review from Guidestar

Lizbeth R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

They make it super easy to help out, which is great. Everything is well organized for building packages for the kids. I was given a personal but quick walk through & got started building packages immediately. I went alone but it was really nice to see parents with their children - so fun & easy a kid can do it! kids helping kids is a great thing :)

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My kids and I have gone to C2C tovolunteer and it has been such a rewarding experience in every way. The people that work there are so kind and appreciative of any help and extremely kid friendly. My kids really felt like they were contributing and making an impact and they had fun doing it. They tested toys to make sure they worked or had all their pieces. They organized books. I was especially impressed with how well run the organization is run. I can't think of one thing they should change. It is a great place!

Review from Guidestar

Christa S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Although I have only gottne to C2C a few times, it made an impact! My children really get to get hands on with the giving process, which is something they always remember. Cradles works hard to provide those who need quality items, not simply "hand-me-downs." EXCELLENT opportunity for younger children, teens, and adults alike to get involved!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering with the Philadelphia C2C for over almost 2 years. It is a wonderful organization that helps so many children and families. The staff members are fantastic and very appreciative of the volunteers.

Review from Guidestar

Beth S.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with C2C since its inception in Philadelphia and have only gained appreciation and enthusiasm for this great organization. One of the things I love the most is that C2C by definition brings communities together. In providing the valuable service of delivering essential items (clothes, school supplies, books, etc) to low-income and homeless children C2C creates community collaborations - volunteers from every source imaginable (families, corporations, schools, faith-based orgs, etc.) accomplish much of the work and partnerships with social service agencies enable distribution of the products to the children. C2C had a deep and measurable impact from the day it opened its doors; everyone wins by supporting and working with Cradles to Crayons.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at "Cradles to Crayons"and found it to be the most uplifting experience. We get up and go through our normal routine everyday and sometimes don't realize how much others truly need our help. Being able to volunteer was an eye opening experience and I am gratful for having been involved.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

My Sunday school class volunteered time at C2C. It was an eye opening experience for the students. They had a blast testing and cleaning toys but they really got a lot from the opportunity to fill clothing orders. Both the boys and girls took their time to coordinate outfits imagining themselves as the recipients. The went home with a greater appreciation for their family's ability to provide for them and stronger empathy for those who are less fortunate.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Cradle to Crayons is a fantastic organization and I am happy to volunteer for this program.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

We are also a non profit organization who serves a large community and those who reside in it have encountered many circumstances that have effected them financially economically and emotionally. Cradles to Crayons has done more then provided us with season appropriate clothing, children s shoes, great books, educational games, items for newborns to toddlers and coats for the winter but they have aided us in being able to give all of this in exceptional condition. With the help of this organization we are able to relieve the stress and worry by supplying the needy with necessities with no strings attached. With our position in our community, our hearts to help and the proper resources, we can ultimately reverse the harsh effects of the economic struggles and begin to restore.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I discovered Cradles to Crayons as a volunteer opportunity when Disney was offering the "Give a Day, Get a Disney Day" promotion. As a mother, supporting a charity that directly improves the lives of children in my immediate area is important to me. It is also important for me to have my children understand what it is to help others and that there are children just like them, who don't have warm clothes to wear or toys to play with. To this point, instead of receiving gifts for her 4th birthday, my daughter asked for donations for Cradles to Crayons. She was delighted to drop off a car full of items ranging from infant car seats to boys and girls clothing. The Cradles to Crayons Team explained to my daughter in language she could understand, exactly who would be receiving her many donations. We took a photo of my daughter in front of a Cradles to Crayons banner surrounded by her “birthday gifts.”

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I've seen the work Cradle to Crayons have done and find it touching that they've helped so many children. I wish i could have volunteered with them when i had a chance. Its great the things they've done; provided kids with school supplies, clothing and volunteers work with the kids just the make their day. I personally hope to soon be one of those volunteers and help those kids too.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 3

Working with Cradles to Crayons with my daughter helped my daughter know the importance of helping others and how lucky she is to have the things such as nice clothes and several coats which a lot of children do not have

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

My daughter brought her friends to the Horsham location to celebrate her 16th birthday by volunteering their efforts to this wonderful cause. The experience was very rewarding to all the girls who came. They enjoyed the fact that they were having fun helping others in need. They spent the day making kid bundles of clothing, sorting through books and toys, followed by a mini party in the conference room. We're sad that the location has moved to Norristown, which makes it difficult for us to volunteer, but we wish the staff great success in their venture. This is a well run organization and a wonderful opportunity for "regular folk" to help meet an important need in the community.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 4

As a Preschool Education Center in Norristown, Pa, we serve mostly low income families. Cradles to Crayons Inc. has allowed us to help some of these families with essentials such as clothing, back packs and car seats. It is a priviledge to act as one of their distributors in the Norristown Area.

Review from Guidestar

Ruben H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

With my wife and kids of 10 and 15 we have been coming to the Philadelphia location of Cradles to Crayons for years now. The work they do for kids in need is heart-warming, and their facility is so well-organized that the amount work a crew of volunteers can accomplish in a few short hours is amazing. We always leave with a happy and satisfied feeling, anxiously awaiting the next possibility to volunteer.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering with C2C has been a unique experience that our entire family has shared together. It is difficult to find an organization that allows young children to really take part in the process. Our elementary aged kids are welcome and encouraged to volunteer with us at C2C. Their time at C2C permits them to see the next stage in the donation process; and allowing them to experience firsthand all of the work that needs to be done to simply get donations such as their old toys or clothing to those in need, has strengthened their desire to help. The staff at C2C are incredible, and make this a positive experience for everyone.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I have recently been involved w/ this organization Cradles to Crayons,both as a worker and a donor of many,many items. To think of the cildren they re helping keep warm, packing 12,000 bokbags for the children to start school w/ is an awesome undertking. All of this is done through donations both financial and thru donating goods.
The work done to help

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Recently we had a company organized volunteer day at C2C. First, they have made getting involved with the organization a win/win for all. We felt like we were able to make an immediate impact and the organization makes itself so accessible. I think what struck me the most was how much care this organization takes in thinking about the customers they are serving. They are respond to the immediate needs of shelters within a wide radius, providing age and season appropriate toys and clothing on demand. This is a great organization!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Recently I volunteered at Cradle to Crayons with several collegues. I was so completely impressed by the operation and the staff. The warehouse and process by which they pull together packs for individual children is so organized. With that, I felt as though the time we spent there was well utilized and that we were able to really assist those who run this organization by getting work done. The staff was very nice and enthusiastic. They designed our time there in a way that gave us exposure to all aspects of how Cradles to Crayons functions and told us about the children they serve. We went through games and puzzles, to ensure they had all their pieces, and then sorted them according to age bracket. Then we made clothing packets for boys and girls of varying ages. Then lastly, we fulfilled requests for specific children. It was a great experience. Cradles to Crayons does amazing work. I feel passionate about volunteering again and our group was talking about a drive to collect clothing to donate to this organization so they can continue on their mission.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

I have given to CTC for the past few years as this is a fabulous way to help LOCAL children in dire need of essentials. I first became acquainted with CTC when the youth group from my church volunteered there. I heard what a fabulous charity this was and decided that it needed to be a charity that I gave to. Thank you so much for doing so much good in the community!

Review from Guidestar

Adam S.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

As a volunteer, I moved clothes and organized clothes as well as created "care packages" for kids in need. Theses packages included clothes, games, and books that were sorted by age and gender. I know the kids will love the new stuff they get and I had fun helping out! I'll be sure to do it again soon!

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

Instead of exchanging Christmas gifts with my sisters this year, we decided to spend the money on clothing for children serviced by C2C. It was fun shopping and even better dropping it off at C2C. A volunteer cheerfully greeted us and thanked us for the donation. By the next day, I had an email expressing their appreciation. It was a very good experience that we will repeat again and again.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

CTC is such a well run organization. They provide a very valuable service to children and families in need and the community at large. My family is proud to have been involved with CTC.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I recently volunteered with a group of associates from The Goldenberg Group. It was our first time at CTC. We were all amazed at how organized the program was and we thoroughly enjoyed helping out. The helpers were so pleasant and we are looking forward to volunteering again at CTC. What you guys do everyday is to be commended.

Keep up the good work!

Patti Simpson

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at Cradles to Crayons with my family over the Christmas break. It was a wonderful experience to do something for others together as a family. It was amazing to think we could be helping so many people and it was an overall fun experience. We got a very efficient assembly line going while sorting clothes :). The workers at Cradles to Crayons were very helpful in giving us a task to complete, making the hours we spent there feel very productive and worthwhile. I really admire this organization and my experience made me want to work with Cradles to Crayons on a regular basis.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Volunteering at Cradles to Crayons was a wonderful experience that I was able to share with my children. We all volunteered for an afternoon together. It was so moving to see both all of the generosity of donations and the hard work put into the distribution of the donations. I plan to go back and volunteer in the near future. I's a great charity!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with my employer last year. It was such a powerful and touching experience knowing how many children we were helping just in the short amount of time we were there. I have been back several times since and have even brought my children along. C2C is a wonderful organization!

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

I ran a clothing drive as part of the Disney Give a Day program. During the learning process, I worked with a few individuals at C2C that were always available to explain the processes and answer my questions. When I dropped off my donations and saw their new warehouse and I realized that if the warehouse had to be this large, the need must be much larger. The experience was enjoyable to me since inception. The staff was wonderful and I even received a follow up thank you which has never occurred with any other non-religious, non-profit organizations that I have donated to. C2C has become my first choice for children's donations and I recommend them to friends and family when anyone is doing closet cleanouts and school shopping.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I go to Cradles to Crayons with my wife and 2 kids. We have always found it to be a rewarding experience. They are always well organized and there is always plenty of work to be done

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I chaperoned a Brownie Troop on Sat. 2/5 at the Cradles to Crayons Factory and my/our experience was wonderful. The girls and the leaders/parents started out by seeing first hand exactly what Cradles to Crayons does, and what is provided to the children in need. We then began our volunteering by sorting through bags of clothes-separating them into size, gender and tops/bottoms. The factory is so well organized this was simple even for 7 and 8 year old girls to do. Then we went to the toy section and the girls were given a new task. Dressing Barbies and putting a couple together along with a few accessories. They then put them into a bag and they were ready to go to a needy child. What a fun way to learn about giving and helping others who don't have so much! The grown ups worked on the toys for children ages 2 and under-cleaning them and replacing batteries as needed. After a short snack break, we were split into two groups. One group cleaned shoes/sneakers and the other group gathered gloves, hats and scarves (that had previously been organized by yet another group of volunteers) into a bag and labeled them for size and gender.
All in all, I found Cradles to Crayons was a place that was well organized, clean and bustling with people eager and happy to help others. I am so glad that I took my daughter there, and I plan on taking my older daughter there soon, In fact, she is interested in working on her Silver Award for Girl Scouts through volunteering at Cradles to Crayons.
Thank you for all you do for those in need.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at Cradles to Crayons through school and it was a wonderful experience. They had us sorting clothes and books that would be distributed to children in need. It was so much fun and really an experience that I will remember. The work that Cradles to Crayons does is wonderful because of how many children they help. It was a great honor to help an organization that does all of this. What a wonderful organization.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I recently volunteered at Cradles to Crayons for the 2nd time with my children. It is a great organization and extremely organized and well run. Their warehouse is huge and full of donations to be sorted and packaged per specific requests for children's items from local organizations representing the needy in the area. The instruction given by the staff was informative and we were able to get to work quickly. The donations are precisely sorted by categories and sizes and ready to be packed up and sent to children in need. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable, and their dedication to this cause was admirable. We will definitely be back to volunteer again!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered on a number of occasions with a group of my friends from our church. C2C is the best organized non profit I have ever seen... We all agreed with this. It is amazing how gratifying the experience of fulfilling the requests for individual children becomes. We always leave there with the feeling that we have received much more than we have given.

Review from Guidestar