Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cradles to Crayons

This morning proved to be a fitting begining to my summer of adventure. Instead of going into work my friend Nicole and I went to Quincy, MA to help out at Cradles to Crayones. First of all, in case anyone is planning on going there, make sure you have read over all of the directions and pay attention while driving or you will get lost. Also even after 9am there is still plenty of traffic to battle. Of course after our 50 minute car ride and squabble over where to park we were both happy to finally be at Cradles to Crayons (C2C).

What is Cradles to Crayons?

For those of you who don't know what Cradles to Crayons (C2C) is, let me break it down for you. C2C collects donated clothes, schools supplies, books, toys and other goods for infants through preteens who are currently in a low income or homeless situration. All of these donations are brough to a giant warehouse they refer to as "The Giving Factory" which is located in Quincy, MA (A new one has also been opened in Philidelphia). Volunteers come to this "Giving Factory" and help sort donations and fulfill orders.

My Experience

It was my first time volunteering at C2C and I was interested to learn how the program was run. Luckily my job involved a shopping cart and a list so I naturally fell into my role quite easily. The process went as follows:

  • Pick up an order with a childs name, list of items needed and age
  • Take shopping cart up and down the aisles of sorted donations and pick out the ones that apply to each child
  • Bring the goods back to the front to wrap gifts and bag up the supplies

What is great about this program is that anyone can go by themselves or with a group and volunteer for as little as one hour. It is not a bad way to spend a lunch break or a saturday afternoon. What is so special about this program is that it is customized to each child that is in need giving each volunteer a very personal experience and ability to identify with what they are doing. Even more it is meeting each childs differant and specific needs like a pair of shoes or a spring jacket.

What I learned today, besides that Nicole's driving skills are almost as creative as mine, is that volunteering can be fun, stress free, and and sometimes brief. This lesson reassures me that even giving a little bit will help the big picture go along way and together we can all help to make a positive impact on our communities one hour at a time.

Help is Always Needed
The giving factory was chalk full of donations, however, I noticed that there was a need for children's sandals and shoes as well as crib bedding. For more information on how to donate your time or gently used child goods please go to http://www.cradlestocrayons.org/

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