Cradles to Crayons Philadelphia is the rapidly growing first chapter of Cradles to Crayons, a national non-profit based in Boston. Cradles to Crayons is one of the leading volunteer management operations in the greater Philadelphia area, providing service opportunities to thousands of children and adults each year. The mission of Cradles to Crayons is to provide children from birth thrugh 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.
Cradles to Crayons services the needs of this community through a unique social enterprise model. Cradles to Crayons collects new and gently used essential items from communities that have excess and sorts and packs them for children in need from birth to age 12. The items: clothing, shoes, toys, books, school supplies, and baby equipment are collected by schools, corporations, faith-based organizations and neighborhoods who deliver them to the warehouse. These are sorted and packed by over 1,000 volunteers a month who inspect and quality check all donated items to fill KidPack orders. A KidPack provides a child with a week's worth of everyday essentials. Operating with a small staff of 11, this highly productive and cost-effective model engaged over 11,000 volunteer adults and children at our West Conshohocken warehouse in 2011 while serving over 40,000 children in the five-county region.
Secondly, Cradles to Crayons partners with social service agencies which include a wide diversity of homeless and domestic violence shelters, orphanages, and foster homes which provide direct assistance to low-income children. These Distribution Partners order supplies online for individual children in their care and pick them up from the warehouse a few days later. Cradles to Crayons greatly increases the capacity of the agencies that it serves. By providing packs of everyday essentials to over 250 social services agencies, we save social workers time normally spent on sourcing supplies (a recent partner survey indicated this can take up to 20% of their time). As a result, they can spend more time on directly serving their at-risk clients.