Cradles to Crayons Launches Annual Gear Up for Winter Initiative Across the Commonwealth. Donations will support local children facing a lack of warm winter clothing items.

November 10, 2021, BOSTON, MA—Cradles to Crayons® is preparing for dropping temperatures and the New England winter that is fast approaching with their annual Gear Up for Winter initiative. For the second year, fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting families and children across the Commonwealth. Through the annual initiative, Cradles to Crayons aims to distribute more than 120,000 winter clothing items to local children in need, allowing them to stay safe, warm and healthy this winter season. 

Massachusetts families already facing the challenges of living in low-income or homeless situations are now feeling added pressures, as many find themselves forced into a position of choosing between essentials for their children and household expenses such as groceries, rent, and heat. For those disproportionately affected by the pandemic, purchasing winter-appropriate clothing and outerwear may not be feasible. Meanwhile, community resources like schools and daycares continue to function at reduced or varying access, and the end of COVID-19 government-supported funding means staying warm at home—where heat may be limited—becomes even more critical.

Cradles to Crayons is stepping up to assist local families by providing new and like-new winter coats, hats, gloves, boots, and warm clothing in preparation for the coming months. The organization’s individually tailored “Outfit Packs” equip children with outerwear and a week’s worth of clothing. The packs are not just relief for families and parents, but are a requirement for children’s health and safety.

“Recently I ordered [outfit packs] for three siblings and they were some of the best! These kids don’t have much and they struggle all year to get the basic essentials,” said a Social Worker from South End Community Health Center. “…I don’t know how, but each [outfit pack] had exactly what each child was into and they cried when they saw the bags in front of them. They were so happy because they got something new or something they have never had—and now it was theirs! Coats, shoes, and a book bag they can actually use for school instead of a drawstring bag—and snow boots! They’ve never had snow boots before.”

“As we all continue to do our best in handling these unprecedented times, our organization aims to remain one step ahead in order to best serve the children and their parents who need us,” said Aubrey Conquergood, Executive Director of Cradles to Crayons Boston. “We want to prepare kids for winter before it becomes an emergency. An overwhelming number of families in Massachusetts continue to feel the pressures of the pandemic, making it nearly impossible for those living in low-income situations to keep up with the everyday expenses. Without appropriate protection this winter, snow and freezing temperatures put kids at an increased risk for illness and injury. Donations of coats and winter clothing from the community will help us assist thousands of children.”

To help support the Cradles to Crayons Gear Up for Winter initiative, donations of new and gently-used items can be dropped off at, or delivered to, their Giving Factory at 281 Newtonville Avenue in Newton, MA. Financial donations can also be made on their website.

About Cradles to Crayons

Cradles to Crayons launched in Boston in 2002 and currently has operations in Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago. The nonprofit provides children from birth through age 12 living in homeless or low-income situations with the essential items they need to thrive—at home, at school, and at play. They supply these items free of charge by engaging and connecting communities. Cradles to Crayons collects new and high-quality used children’s goods and engages thousands of youth and adults in volunteer activities each year on behalf of local children in need. For more information, visit www.cradlestocrayons.org/boston.