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The Cradles to Crayons club makes cards for children during a meeting. Members work to raise money for kids in the Boston area.

Cradles to Crayons assists underprivileged kids

Books, toys, warm winter coats and more. These are all necessities for a child. Unfortunately, according to Cradles to Crayons, there are 400,000 children living in Massachusetts that are homeless or have low-income families and do not have access to these things. Cradles to Crayons is a non-profit organization that helps provide children with essentials through donations from local communities.

The Cradles to Crayons club at the high school supports children in the Greater Boston community by raising money, running clothing drives and volunteering at the Cradles to Crayons warehouse in Brighton, Mass. The club leaders, senior Sonia Hills and juniors Ilana Fischer and Samantha Yee, joined the club last year, but had prior knowledge or experience with the organization.

“I used to do Cradles to Crayons and go with my parents,” Fischer said. “When I was little, I would go and help sort the stuff with my friends.”

Families in need can sign up for the Cradles to Crayons program, and their children may receive personalized packages of essentials, depending on items they requested and what season it is. At the warehouse, club members sort clothing donations and make packages for kids living in the Greater Boston area.

“There are a lot of donations, but they don’t accept everything because they want the kids to feel comfortable in what they’re wearing and feel confident,” Hills said.

The Cradles to Crayons club volunteers at the warehouse two to three times a year on the weekends, although they hope to help out more this year. While volunteering at the warehouse constitutes a significant part of the club, conducting bake sales and clothing drives also raises awareness and helps support the organization.

“We have clothing drives that we do at the elementary schools,” Yee said. “We email the parents and then we put out bins outside of each classroom, and the parents will just put their clothes in the bins.”

According to Yee, the club received 800 pounds of clothes from the elementary schools a few years ago, which the club hopes to achieve again.

In order to plan clothing donations and other future events, the club has weekly club meetings during X-block in room 347.

“We’re going to figure out when people are available and when they want to go to the warehouse,” Fischer said. “Then we can start figuring out the specifics, such as if we want to do a bake sale and when we would do it. We’ll probably start the clothing drive soon because it’s getting colder, and we need coats for the kids.”

Club members also make cards for children in need during X-block meetings, which is a meaningful experience that Hills appreciates.

“I love having meetings and making cards because we’re all here for a common reason,” Hills said. “We’re all able to work together to help other people. Every little thing counts. You don’t have to be going to the warehouse or be doing something big because you’re still doing something good.”

In addition to helping the Greater Boston community, the Cradles to Crayons club also benefits the club members personally.

“It means a lot to be able to help people of my own community,” Hills said. “I feel very fortunate to have everything that I need to survive. I’m lucky to have a roof over my head, food, all the clothes I could ever need and so much more than that. Being able to give back to other people is really a rewarding feeling.”

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