Our Signature Events


Our signature Gear Up for Winter event, Un-Gala®, brings families together to have fun and give back. Each winter, volunteers  of all ages  gather to sort and pack everyday essentials  like hats, gloves, scarves, and more  that bring warmth to thousands of Massachusetts children in need.

Learn more about Un-Gala® >


Un-like their peers, kids from low-income or homeless families lack basic school supplies that provide them with a real chance to learn and succeed. Ready for School’s signature event, Backpack-A-Thon® brings together more than 1,100 volunteers, primarily corporate, to stuff thousands of backpacks and to enable kids to arrive at school ready and excited to learn. Backpack-A-Thon® is a high-energy corporate event fueled by great spirit and friendly competition.

Learn more about Backpack-A-Thon® >

Event Calendar

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11th Annual Ready for School Backpack-A-Thon®
Aug 4 all-day

Support Cradles to Crayons’ Ready for School initiative and help 70,000 local children succeed in school this year!

The Initiative

As one school year comes to a close, Cradles to Crayons is already focused on getting children ready for the next. Presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, OMAM and TJX Companies Inc., the Ready for School initiative distributes backpacks filled with new, age-appropriate school supplies, including tools aligning with Massachusetts State Standards for STEM education, helping students excel in math and sciences from an early age as well as KidPacks filled with shoes, clothing, and more, to ensure that children arrive at school on the first day prepared and excited to learn! This year marks the 11th year of this critical program.

The Need

Starting school without the tools needed to succeed can put big obstacles in a developing child’s way. There are more than 400,000 children in need in Massachusetts right now and your help is essential to supplying children with the tools they need to translate their knowledge and creativity into confidence and good grades.

Items like backpacks, art supplies, writing tools, and back-to-school clothing are imperative to help get children mentally, emotionally, and physically prepared for school. New backpacks and supplies give children a sense of pride and excitement to go back to school. With these tools, they are more likely to attend school and complete homework — knowing they have the same chance at school success as their peers. Parents can focus on rent and groceries instead of facing the stress of school-related expenses.

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