By Ann Needle
“Our vision is that one day every child will have the essentials they need to feel safe, warm, ready to learn and valued,” reads the mission statement of Cradles to Crayons, a Boston-based non-profit agency that Stow’s Brownie Troop #72518 has set out to help.
Through the end of this month, the girls will be collecting all sorts of items for C2C that fit the organization’s motto. Collection boxes decorated by the troop can be found at Center and Hale schools and at the Post Office, according to Brownie Leader Alicia Kerr, who heads up the troop of third graders with fellow leader Helen Shaw.
Designed to serve children from ages 0 through 12, C2C take donations of items for comfort, school, and play time. This means contributions of school supplies, clothing, and specific types of toys.
Helping fellow Brownies decorate posters advertising the project, Samantha outlined a few of the items that C2C handles — clothing, shoes, toys, books, even things for a baby’s room (such as bedding).
As troop member Bethany summed it up, “We get these for children so they can have a better life.”
C2C was founded on the grounds that many children have things they choose not to use, while other youngsters do not have those items at all. The story goes that, when visiting out-of-town nieces and nephews more than a decade ago, Boston consultant Lynn Margherio began to discover items such as clothes still sporting their store tags, and toys that were never played with. That is when Margherio founded C2C to get these unwanted items to the many homeless and low-income children in the Boston area. Today, C2C serves children in Boston and Philadelphia, with the organization estimating it served 87,000 children last year in these cities.
More About Donations
Preferably, contributions should be new. However, Kerr explained that gently used items are often quite acceptable, “As long as you would put it on your own child, or let them play with it.”
But folks should avoid sending in certain items in the gently used category. Topping this are stuffed animals and hats, said Samantha, with Kerr adding that these items have the chance of carrying crawly things best not thought about over lunch. Also among the items not accepted are violent toys or games, or used hygiene products. They have a complete listing of items in both categories on their website, listed below.
Brownie Emma talked about how she was part of getting the troop project started, after visiting C2C’s Boston headquarters last year as part of “Comcast Cares”, a day devoted to charitable work for the company’s employees and families. The company joined other volunteers to help sort and package donations.
C2C also takes the “feeling valued” portion of its motto seriously. Kerr said she participated in a larger Girl Scout event at C2C last year, making birthday cards for specific children to accompany the items coming their way. Combined with Emma’s experience, Kerr said she decide this would be a terrific project for the Brownies.
Said troop member Aislynn, “More people in the world are in need than there are [students] in our school — and there are a lot of people in our school.”
Currently, C2C reported it is most in need of long pants, shirts, sweaters, winter boots, sneakers, and crib bedding. It is also in more need of some sizes than others— coats (sizes 0-24 months), hats and gloves (2T-7/8), and boys pants (7/8 – 18/20).
For a complete list of items C2C does and does not accept — especially in terms of what gently used items it will take — go to http://cradlestocrayons.org/