Frequently Asked Questions

My child needs help from Cradles to Crayons. What should I do?

Please note that we cannot accept inquiries or product orders from families or individuals. Instead, all orders must be submitted through one of our partners, a network of social workers, health care workers, and people in similar positions working for registered nonprofit organizations or state or local social service agencies.

Do you have anyone like that currently working with you? If so, ask if they are registered with Cradles to Crayons. If they are already registered, they can order items for your children. If they are not registered, direct them to this site. Registering is a simple, free process.

If you do not currently work with a registered partner, look at our list of social service partners for an organization that is near you.

Whom does C2C serve?

Cradles to Crayons serves Massachusetts children between the ages of newborn and 12 years old who are living in need. This includes children living in poverty and homelessness. Please note that we cannot accept inquiries or product orders from individuals or families. Instead, all orders must be submitted through one of our partners, a network of social workers, health care workers, and people in similar positions working for registered non profit organizations or state or local social service agencies. In 2014, Cradles to Crayons Boston served over 100,000 children across Massachusetts.

Does C2C charge for the items it distributes?

No. All of “our” children receive our help free of charge.

How can I get involved?

There are lots of ways to get involved with Cradles to Crayons. For example, you can:

  • Make a donation of gently used kids' goods
  • Organize a drive to collect kids' goods
  • Host a fundraising event
  • Volunteer at the Giving Factory
  • Make a personal financial contribution
  • Make a corporate financial contribution
  • Donate excess or outdated inventory
  • Spread the word. (Follow us on Facebook or Twitter)

What types of donations does C2C accept?

We accept donations of a wide range of goods that are used by children of all ages, from infants on up. If your children used it lightly, the children we serve can probably use it, too. Right now, we are in great need of pants all sizes, coats, baby board books, boots, and new socks and underwear.

Ideally, we would never have to dispose of a donated item. (That costs us time and money.) Please review the standards below to make sure that we can put your item to good use.

  • Clothing: bottoms, tops, outerwear, pajamas, accessories, swimwear. Sizes newborn through adult medium. Pajamas, socks and underwear must be new.
  • Shoes: sneakers, sandals, casual and dress shoes, winter boots. Please secure pairs with rubber bands.
  • Books: board books, picture books, chapter books, Spanish language books. No religious or religious holiday books, please. No CDs/DVDs/VHS tapes.
  • Arts and crafts: beads, clay and dough, craft kits, painting, coloring supplies/books, paper crafts, stamps. All supplies must be new and unused.
  • School supplies: backpacks, notebooks/binders, calculators, rulers, scissors, writing instruments and coloring supplies. All supplies must be new and unused.
  • Baby supplies: feeding, diapering, health and safety, toys, and bedding. All feeding and diapering supplies must be new and unused.
  • Equipment: infant and toddler car seats, pack 'n plays, swings, bouncy seats, safety gates, high chairs/booster seats, excersaucers, strollers. All equipment must be fewer than 5 years old (verify by inspecting manufacturer's date), in perfect working order, with manufacturer's instructions, and all hardware and attachments. Package hardware, batteries and attachments in a Ziplock bag and attach to equipment. Unfortunately, due to recent 2009 drop‐side crib recalls, we are no longer accepting cribs of any kind.
    • Toys: action figures, scientific and educational toys, building sets/blocks/models, dolls, musical toys, pretend play/dress up, puzzles and games.Toys should be clean, and contain all pieces, instructions, and batteries (if required). We do not accept: stuffed animals, CDs/DVDs/VHS, computer games, violent toys, religious books/toys, or oversized plastic toys.
    • Hygiene: soap, shampoo, deodorant, lotion, toothpaste & toothbrushes. All supplies must be new and unopened.

What items need to be brand new?

Pajamas, socks, underwear, diapers, arts and crafts/school supplies, birthday gifts, hygiene products, and anything designed to be put in a baby's mouth.

Where and when can I drop off donations at the Giving Factory?

Contact Cradles to Crayons | Boston
155 North Beacon St.
Brighton, MA 02135
Telephone: 617.779.4700
Fax: 866.841.9995
Drop–off hours: Tuesday–Friday, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Click here to see which weekend days we are open. View full list of drop–off locations.

Does C2C have drop-off locations other than the Giving Factory?

Does C2C do pick-ups?

Cradles to Crayons is unable to do pickups. Our model relies on drop-offs, and on community members hosting collection drives in their own neighborhoods. Click here for a list of collection drives near you. Click here for information on how you can host your own collection drive.

Does C2C accept car seats?

Yes, Cradles to Crayons accepts car seats. We require car seats to be five years old or younger. The manufacturer's date can be found on a sticker or engraved on the back or side of the seat.

Please inspect the seat for expiration date before donating. By law, expired car seats cannot be used.

How old do you have to be to volunteer at the Giving Factory?

Everyone from age 5 on up is welcome to volunteer at the Giving Factory. Volunteers 18 years old and under must have a chaperone and a signed waiver form with them when they come.

Do 18 year olds need to have a parent with them?

If they are currently attending high school they will need a chaperone. If they are currently attending college, no.

I'm a middle/high school student. How can I get more involved in C2C?

You can join the Teen Leadership Corps, which gives young people in the Boston area an opportunity to make an important difference in their communities.

What are the adult-to-student ratio requirements to volunteer at the Giving Factory?

1 adult per every 3-4 elementary schoolers, 1 adult per every 5 middle schoolers, 1 adult per every 8-10 high schoolers.

How many people can volunteer at one time?

Our Giving Factory is able to accomodate 50-60 high school kids, 30-35 middle school or elementary school kids plus chaperones, or up to 80 adults. For large group inquiries, please speak with a member of our staff directly.

Do I need to sign up in advance, or can I just stop by to volunteer?

Due to high levels of interest in volunteering, you are required to register with our volunteer department ahead of time. Click here for our individual/family online registration form, or here if you want to register a school, community, corporate, or faith-based group.

In all cases, we ask that you register at least two weeks in advance.

Can I bring my donations with me when I volunteer?

Yes, we strongly encourage volunteers to clean out their closets prior to their volunteer visit.  Student and community groups are required to host a drive prior to their visits. When you arrive at the warehouse, bring donations through the front door or to our loading dock located on Life St. A member of our team will help you unload at the loading dock before you begin your volunteer shift.  Please do not leave donations on the dock unattended. 

What can volunteers expect when they come in to volunteer at the Giving Factory?

Volunteers are given a short introduction to Cradles to Crayons, which includes a bit of our history and a brief orientation on how our model works. Groups are then assigned to project areas, where a C2C representative introduces the project and remains with the group for the entire session to answer any questions.

Volunteers at the Giving Factory should expect to be involved in a wide range of projects, depending on the ages of the members of the group and our particular needs at the time.

What are the lunch options for volunteers at the Giving Factory?

Volunteers are responsible for providing their own lunch. The facility has a water cooler, and a small kitchenette with a refrigerator. The Brighton area also offers a number of delivery and take-out options.

If I can’t make it to the Giving Factory to volunteer, is there a way I can help in my community?

Cradles to Crayons offers a number of seasonal volunteer opportunities that take place outside of our Giving Factory. For more information on upcoming volunteer opportunities in the community, check out some upcoming events.

We also have several fun suggestions for activities you can do to help with your family and friends in your local community. If you are a member of a school, community, or faith-based group interested in hosting a local effort, please click here.

My child needs to log a specific number of community service hours. Can we arrange that?

Yes. Fill out our online registration form. A staff member will contact you and help you work out the details.

Can I set up a regular schedule of volunteering?

Yes, our Giving Corps program would be perfect for you. Click here to learn more.

How did C2C get started?

Cradles to Crayons first opened its doors in Boston in 2002. It quickly proved itself as an effective philanthropic and social-service model. Working in close partnership with social workers, nurses, teachers, and therapists, Cradles to Crayons has become a trusted resource: to children and families in need; to the organizations who serve those families; and to families, corporations, and individuals who seek ways to make a tangible difference in their own communities.

Do 18 year old HS students count as chaperones?