Frequently Asked Questions

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

We do not work directly with families. Instead, we work with social workers, health care workers, and people in similar positions, who place orders for children's items on behalf of the families we serve.

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 to learn more. 

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. If you can't find one, please let us know what town you live in, and we can recommend someone near you who is already registered with us.

Whom does Cradles to Crayons serve?

Cradles to Crayons serves Philadelphia-area children between the ages of newborn and 12 years old who are living in low-income situations. This includes children living in poverty and homelessness. We do so through the help of over 250 social service agencies who help us identify these children, and deliver the packages we provide.

Does Cradles to Crayons charge for the items it distributes?

No. All children receive our help free of charge.

How can I get involved?

What types of donations does Cradles to Crayons 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, we can probably use it, too.

Ideally, we would never have to dispose of a donated item. (That costs us time and money.) Please click here for a full list the items we accept and do not accept to make sure that we can put your item to good use.

  • Clothing: bottoms, tops, outerwear, pajamas, accessories. Sizes 0 - youth 14/16. Swimwear, socks and underwear must be new.
  • Shoes: sneakers, sandals, casual and dress shoes, boots. Please secure pairs with rubber bands.
  • Books: board books, picture books, chapter books. No religious books or foreign language 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: unused hygiene items, diapers, new bottles, new pacifiers, rattles, safety items, wash cloths, burp cloths, bedding for bassinets and cribs (sheets and blankets). No room decor or furniture. No crib bumpers. All feeding and diapering supplies must be new and unused.
  • Equipment: infant and toddler car seats (less than 5 years old), pack 'n plays, swings, bouncy seats, safety gates, high chairs/booster seats, changing tables, 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. We cannot accept cribs, toddler beds or mattresses at this time.
  • Toys: action figures, scientific and educational toys, building sets/blocks/models, dolls (please no porcelain), musical toys, puzzles, games, riding toys, sports balls/rackets/bats. Toys should be clean, and contain all pieces, instructions, and batteries (if required). We do not accept: stuffed animals, bikes, vehicles, large playhouses, CDs/DVDs/VHS, computer games, violent toys, or big plastic toys.
  • Hygiene: soap, shampoo, lotion, baby poweder, toothpaste & toothbrushes. All supplies must be new and unopened.

Please click here for a full comprehensive list of items that we can accept and cannot accept. 

What items need to be brand-new?

Socks, underwear, bathing suits, diapers, arts and crafts/school supplies, 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?

Main drop-off location:
30 Clipper Road
W. Conshohocken, PA 19428
Telephone: 215.836.0958

In-person drop off hours occur on:
Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:30am-12pm

For after-hours donations: A PACKRAT unit is located in our parking lot for your convenience. If donating outside of regular business hours, please place donations in the large storage unit.

Click here for a full list of all drop-off locations. 

Does Cradles to Crayons have drop-off locations other than the Giving Factory?

Yes! Visit our list of satelitte drop-off locations

Does Cradles to Crayons 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. Learn how you can host your own collection drive.

What are Cradles to Crayons' most-needed items?

Our most-needed items depend on the season and current inventory levels. Winter coats (for example) are always in great demand in the cold weather, and we try to stock up on them for months in advance.

Regardless of the season, high-quality children's clothing is always a crucial need

Click here to see a list of our current most needed items

Does Cradles to Crayons 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 and car seats that have been in an accident cannot be used.

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

Everyone from age 6 on up is welcome to volunteer at the Giving Factory. Volunteers 18 years old and under need to have a parent or guardian with them.

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 with Cradles to Crayons? 

You can join the Teen Leadership Corps, which gives young people in the Philadelphia 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?

  • Bring one adult for every 4 elementary school students
  • Bring one adult for every 6 middle school students
  • Bring one adult for every 8 high school students
  • Bring one adult for every 4 special needs students

How many people can volunteer at one time?

We can usually handle groups of 35 kids age 18 and under, or between 50 and 60 adults. These numbers may need to go lower if other volunteer groups are scheduled on the same day.

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. Contact us by completing our online volunteer registration form.

Can I bring my donations with me when I volunteer?

Yes. When you arrive at Cradles to Crayons, you can back up to our loading dock, where a member of our team will help you unload before you begin your volunteer shift. Please do not leave donations on the dock unattended.

What can volunteers expect, when they donate time 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 Cradles to Crayons 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 vending machines available with snacks and sodas, a water cooler, and a small kitchenette with a refrigerator. Please let us know if you are planning on eating lunch in our space.

Please click here for information on lunch options near our warehouse.

What kinds of volunteer opportunities are available outside of the Giving Factory?

Cradles to Crayons can help you organize and promote a drive for children's product in your school, community, or place of work. Click here for more information

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

Yes. Fill out the on-line 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. Fill out the individual/familly registration form, making sure to check the box at the bottom indicating that you want to set up a regular schedule of volunteer hours. You'll be in good company!

How did Cradles to Crayons 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. Several years later, in the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, a Philadelphia-based entrepreneur named Jennifer Case, then taking time off from a successful financial-sector marketing career to focus on her three young children, wondered how she could help the thousands of young children who were evacuated from New Orleans and other devastated cities on the Gulf Coast.

Case and her children decided to organize a multi-family tag sale to raise money for displaced families. But when her 30 e-mails to neighbors generated responses from 45 households-half again as many as she had contacted-Case knew she had tapped into a strong current of generosity in her community. “It gave me goose bumps,” she recalls.

Case started wondering how that community energy could be harnessed-and how the torrent of goods coming out of the houses in her suburban neighborhood could be steered toward needy children. Her investigations eventually led her to Cradles to Crayons in Boston, and-in 2006-she founded the second Cradles to Crayons chapter. Like her counterparts in Boston, Case has spent countless hours building bridges to social-service partner organizations, volunteer groups, and corporations (who both organize groups of volunteers and-in many cases-donate funds or make in-kind contributions). “It's about creating opportunities for what we call 'widespread volunteerism,'” says Case.

Last year, Cradles to Crayons provided, free of charge, packages of clothes, shoes, books, toys, baby safety equipment and school supplies to 48,000 children in the Boston and Philadelphia metropolitan areas.

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.