Cradles to Crayons

Questions for Cradles to Crayons

Can you tell us a little bit about Cradles to Crayons?

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.  Community volunteers sort, quality-check, and package new and gently used donated items into custom KidPacks.

How have things changed for Cradles to Crayons since the COVID-19 crisis? How has the leadership adapted to the new normal?

We are currently fielding urgent requests from our partners for diapers, hygiene items and Activity Learning packs in addition to our everyday essentials that we distribute year-round. Leadership and staff have worked to collect and distribute the emergency items needed and have adjusted our model to be able to keep up production in the absence of our volunteers.

What are your some of your biggest challenges currently, and where do you think you require the most support?

Covid-19 also came with a host of economic challenges that have directly affected the families that benefit from our services. The demand for our services is up by 155%, and we have had to adapt our production around not taking our usual amount of product donations and not having our regular volunteer activities that aid in our distribution.

A number of non-profits are now disconnected from the communities they serve, because of the current situation. How are you engaging with your beneficiaries?

We provide our service through partnerships with more than 187 child-serving agencies providing 193 programs in Philadelphia. The agency determines the needs of the children (aged 0-12) in their care and place orders online for clothing, school supplies, and specialized equipment like strollers and car seats for infants and toddlers. KidPacks are picked up by partner agencies at the Giving Factory warehouse in Philadelphia for distribution to children 3-5 days later.

What are your top learnings from Virtual Volunteering and how do you plan to leverage the structure going forward?

We have a very hands-on model, centred around volunteers being in our Giving Factory for this very tangible experience. But because of the donation aspect of the model, we were in a unique spot with our supporters who were still looking for ways to engage in the mission from home, and who maybe had children’s items in their homes that they were looking to donate as well. We found that our supporters have been happy to host at-home collect & sort activities virtually with their friends, families, and companies, and going forward, the virtual volunteer activities we have initiated can be used to reach supporters who are eager to help, but maybe don’t reside in an area where the Giving Factory is as easily accessible for them.

You have been working with Goodera for almost 3 months now. How has the partnership helped contribute to your mission?

Goodera has been so supportive of our mission during this crazy time. From helping to spread awareness through initiatives like The Karma Summit to creating beautiful and encouraging Back to School Cards for our Ready for Learning program, we truly appreciate the support and encouragement Goodera has provided us!

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