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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

242 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hi, my name is Grace and my first experience with Cradles to Crayons was with HOBY (Hugh O'Brian Youth) on an off-site volunteer day. When we arrived at the "Giving Factory" we were greeted and shown around by the other volunteers who worked there regularly. The factory was organized with specific work stations, and many shelves and boxes filled with childen's shoes and books. We were instructed where to begin, which for my group, happened to be the birthday-present wrapping center. Volunteers informed us that when they get in requests for a special birthday present for a boy or girl, they get younger volunteers to decorate the paper, which was then used to wrap gifts. This made me realize just how important it is to make a child feel special and loved on his or her birthday, especially when they already need the basic essentials to grow and learn. I thought this was exceptionally thoughtful of Cradles to Crayons to consider how these memorable days in a child's life should be celebrated. Then, we began working with the order slips, selecting and packing the items a child will actually use. I remember how one of the guys in another group started crying when he was picking out diapers and baby clothes for a family. It was difficult for me to wrap my head around the idea that not only families are living with less than adequate food and clothing, but also that infants - the most vulnerable and easily susceptible to sickness - are presently living with less than they require to grow properly. My experience with Cradles to Crayons opened my eyes to the conditions in which so many are living, and made me reflect on how my involvement could make a difference in someone else's life.
I can't thank Cradles to Crayons enough for the work that they so willingly do. Cradles to Crayons is a pioneer because, they recognize the plight of others and take extraordinary action towards relieving such suffering. Cradles to Crayons is a great organization, and I hope more people take part in their goal of helping needy children.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at C2C twice in the past few months. I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience each time and have referred others to the organization. They are organized, the staff is friendly and the experience is rewarding.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My Girl Scout troop volunteered cleaning toys and sorting clothing for families. All of the girls enjoyed the work they did and it inspired them to want to do more service projects. The coordinators explained how they were helping many people in their own community and kept it light and (more importantly) motivational instead of depressing. It was very well organized and the jobs the children did were easy and interesting for them.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

volunteered as a service project...so well organized, friendly staff who completely care about the organization's mission. So glad to have them as part of our community

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I organized a visit for my daughters' girl scout troop to volunteer at Cradles to Crayons last year. The girls sorted clothes and cleaned and sorted toys. They all were excited about what they were doing and unanimously said they felt that they had helped other kids like themselves directly by doing the work themselves, making the packages that would actually go to the recipients. It was a wonderful experience for the girls to have a hands on experience. Cradles to Crayons made volunteering meaningful and instilled in the girls a feeling for community service as well as a feeling of having the power and the responsibility to help others.

Review from Guidestar

Suzanne S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at C2C Philadelphia for 6 months. I was going every other week but enjoy it so much I now go weekly when ever possilbe. The staff and other volunteers are really nice and I feel like I am really ehlping those less fortunate.

Review from Guidestar

Shotputsuz

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a volunteer for various non-profits for about 25 years. I know what makes an organization sustainable and I believe Cradles to Crayons has what it takes.

The employees at C2C are extremely friendly and helpful. The directions for helping are simple and clear (a lot of thought has gone into creating and stocking each station). My favorite part, however, is that families can volunteer together and the kids can play an active role, which means it's like Kids for Kids (K4K)!

I'm so thankful to the person who introduced my family to C2C! Keep up the great work!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our company chooses several charities a year and encourages employees to choose from the list of organized events. 2010 was the 2nd year that Cradles to Crayons was on the list. All of the volunteers had a very rewarding experience in 2009 (small number of people) and raved about it so much that in 2010 we had 48 people attend the one event; much more than the other events. This is due to the fact that the charity is well run, helps local people and understands how to keep all of the volunteers busy and motivated. We will continue to support Cradles to Crayons in 2011 and beyond.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered through my work and found the experience very rewarding. Cradles to Crayons Inc. does their best to fulfill all their requests from the parents, organizations and kids. I would definately volunteer there again.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Cradles to Crayons is wonderful and very well run organization. My company chose to volunteer our time with them in December 2010 and it was a great experience. The staff was friendly and helpful, and my colleagues enjoyed being able to see the process from start to finish. We organized toys, sorted through clothing and created packages for kids in need. It was on overall amazing experience and we are looking forward to volunteering with them again.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a well run and organized group. The Brownie Girl Scout Troop that I lead was able to assist in creating craft kits for kids in need. They felt that they really contributed and it was fun for them to do.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization has a fantastic mission and those that I have worked with have provided me with a great experience. From sorting donations, to folding clothes, cleaning toys and decorating birthday cards--there is so much effort and care that goes into creating a single pack for a single child. I think the personal touches that help develop each pack make C2C an unrivaled nonprofit to be a part of. The employees are great with feedback, very accessible, and an organized group of individuals. This organization is great for volunteers of all ages.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great management of volunteer help. They have the process down to a science. They are flexible with many available times to help and can get you up to speed and contributing faster than most organizations I have worked with. Very friendly staff.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am also a worker at a non profit and Cradle to Crayons has made it easier for our company to provide clothes, books for our clients. The clothes, toys, and books are always in great condition and they even provide a beutifully wrapped birthday gift for a child turning a year the month of the donation. Cradles has never missed in getting the brightest smiles from my clients and their children.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Recently, a group of my co-workers volunteered our time at the Conshohocken location. I was very impressed with the set-up. They had us working various stations throughout the day so that we could appreciate the whole process. A lot of times when I make donations (other than monetary), I wonder if my donations are being put to good use. With this organization, I know they are and it has a direct impact to the immediate area. As a result of my experience that day, I will always consider them on the top of my list when donating my children's things.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our firm held our Community Service Day at the West Conshochocken location and the entire experience was a huge hit! The staff made coordinating the day with our large group a breeze. The facility was very impressive and the work that C2C does for the community is simply amazing and inspiring. Everyone that volunteered that day had a wonderful time and we left at the end of the day thankful for the opportunity to join in the good work that C2C does on a daily basis. We hope to have our annual community service day with this organization because it was such a wonderful experience.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My company ran a volunteering drive and one of the places that we could choose was Cradles to Crayons. I had a great experience helping out and the people who work at C2C were very passionate about what they do. What a great organization!

Review from Guidestar

Niquelle A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The people at Cradles to Crayons are super helpful with arranging a time to volunteer and they are just really great people to be around. The organization is also a wonderful thing, because all children deserve clothes, books, and toys.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our company has been involved in many volunteering projects but this one was very rewarding to me on a personal level. Cradles to Crayons is doing such a great job connecting with the community and providing for the needs of children in a very direct, first person way. I felt rewarded in knowing the efforts, our team of volunteers put in, will be directly benifiting the children in our local communities. I will be volunteering again in the future. Children are our future and Cradles to Crayons is making their future better!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Our agency held a day of service where we (80 of us) volunteered with Cradles to Crayons. The experience was rewarding and a wonderful team building exercise. It was wonderful to know that the donated items we provided and our time was for such a wonderful cause.

Review from Guidestar